CBT reaching out to small- and medium-sized Internet Service Providers

Columbia Basin Trust is reaching out to identify small- to medium-sized local and regional Internet service providers (ISPs) that are interested in expanding connectivity and/or upgrading existing infrastructure to meet new federal standards for broadband in the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions.

A statement said this appeal is being done in cooperation with the Regional Broadband Committee, comprised of the regional districts of Central Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary, East Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap, the Village of Valemount and the Ktunaxa Nation Council.

Through the Digital Canada 150: Connecting Canadians initiative, the federal government has recently committed to $305 million in funding. More details of the federal program and criteria for applications are expected in the fall. Meanwhile, the Trust is working with partners and stakeholders to develop strategies to take advantage of funding. The CBT has identified some immediate priorities, which include:

establishing which ISPs are interested in collaborating with the Trust to pursue funding under the federal program; and
encouraging ISPs to update Industry Canada mapping data to confirm eligibility for federal funding before the Industry Canada deadline of August 30.

The complete call to ISPs can be found on the Trust’s website at cbt.org/ispcall.

The CBT recognizes that collaboration and funding is critical for residents of rural and remote areas to gain access to high-speed Internet. The significant cost of infrastructure and low-population density in many such areas mean that service providers can’t generate a return on investment for extending services without support through public capital investments.

The statement asked ISPs to advise the Trust of their interest to collaborate in funding applications for broadband development projects in the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions. All responses and related questions can be directed to ispinfo@cbt.org or by calling 1-250-365-6633.

For more information on how the CBT is connecting the Basin, please go to cbt.org/broadband.

Columbia Basin Trust supports efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about its programs and initiatives, visit cbt.org or call 1-800-505-8998.