Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about connectivity in B.C. 

FAQs

  1. What does Network BC do?
  2. Why does B.C. consider high-speed Internet to be important?
  3. Where are high-speed Internet services available in B.C.?
  4. How can I improve the Network BC Connectivity Map?
  5. What is considered high-speed Internet in Canada?
  6. What if there are no Internet service providers offering services in my area?
  7. Is there a program to expand connectivity in First Nations communities?
  8. Where can British Columbians file complaints about telecommunications services?
  9. What funding programs are available to expand connectivity?
  10. How can Internet service providers have their coverage included on the Network BC Connectivity Map?
  11. What is the Connecting BC Agreement (CBCA)?          

1. What does Network BC do?

Network BC encourages the expansion of high-speed Internet services by working with different levels of government, the private sector, and other organizations.  As telecommunications are regulated federally in Canada, the B.C. government cannot direct private companies where to make their investments. Rather, we work to leverage government’s investment in telecommunications services to encourage the expansion of Internet services where there may not otherwise be a business case to do so.

Approximately 94% of residents currently have access to high-speed Internet services at a speed of 1.5Mbps or greater. British Columbia has a goal of 100% of British Columbian residents having high-speed Internet access by 2021. 

2. Why does B.C. consider high-speed Internet to be important?

High-speed Internet helps to enable economic and social development, educational opportunities, access to e-services, health and public safety. To learn more, visit the Better Internet page. 

3.  Where are high-speed Internet services available in B.C.?

The Network BC Connectivity Map displays where Internet services are available in the province and what type of services are available. The map currently displays connectivity information on a 25 square kilometre basis.  Because data is displayed for a large geographical area, it may show information that is not accurate in some instances. We are continuously working to improve the quality of the data that the map displays. Consider reaching out to service providers directly to inquire as to whether or not they serve the area. In addition to the larger telecommunications companies, there are a variety of small Internet service providers operating across B.C. who also offer high-speed Internet services.

4. How can I improve the Network BC Connectivity Map?

The Network BC Connectivity Map is powered by data that we receive from the federal government. We track instances of inaccurate information on the map and your feedback is very helpful in the process of developing and improving our map. If you suspect that there may be an inaccuracy on the map, please email networkbc@gov.bc.ca with the Hex name, the Hex ID (click on “View Additional Details” in the pop-up window to find the HEX ID), if it is overestimated or underestimated coverage, and type of coverage.

5. What is considered high-speed Internet in Canada?

The federal government, though the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), defines high-speed Internet access as 5Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed.

6. What if there are no Internet service providers offering services in my area?

The BC Broadband Satellite Initiative (BCBSI) is designed to make access to satellite-based, high-speed Internet more affordable for households in remote areas that currently, and for the foreseeable future, have no other high-speed Internet solutions.  To be eligible for the BCBSI, customers must have no access or rely on older dial up connections for Internet access.  Currently, residents may qualify for up to a 50 per cent reduction in the cost of installation to a maximum of $350 to help make installing a new satellite broadband connection from Xplornet Communications Inc. more affordable.  More information about the program is available through Xplornet.

Please contact Xplornet as they determine eligibility and availability of services.  Xplornet may be reached at 1‐855‐494‐1079 or satelliteBC@xplornet.com.

7. Is there a program to expand connectivity in First Nations communities?

Pathways to Technology was launched to expand connectivity to 203 First Nations in B.C. and is administered by the All Nations Trust Company. The project is funded by provincial and federal governments.

8. Where can British Columbians file complaints about telecommunications services?

There are several ways in which to make a complaint about telecommunications services:

Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services

Phone number: (888) 221-1687 Email: response@ccts-cprst.ca  Website

Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau serving Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Powell River and Haida Gwaii

Better Business Bureau serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior B.C. 

Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission

For information on making complaints about Internet service, please visit the CRTC website.

9. What funding programs are available to expand connectivity?

Small Communities Fund

Connectivity and Broadband are eligible categories through this funding program. An intake of funding applications opened October 30, 2015 and will close April 30, 2016.

Strategic Priorities Fund

This fund is available to local governments for a variety of infrastructure and capacity building projects. Broadband connectivity is an eligible category.

Connecting BC Program

The Connecting British Columbia Program is a province-wide program administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust that will see up to $10 million over two years in provincial funding allocated to program delivery. The program helps pay for infrastructure required to deliver high-speed Internet connectivity in rural locales in British Columbia. Northern Development will provide grants to the eligible applicants that best meet the program criteria to expand Internet service to more British Columbians in rural areas until the program budget is exhausted. 

10.   How can Internet service providers have their coverage included on the Network BC Connectivity Map?

The Network BC Connectivity Map helps to identify where and what type of connectivity exists in B.C. and can help inform residents of where services are available. If you would like your ISP to be included on the map, please send your coverage maps (in shapefile, KML or KMZ file format) and permission to include the named maps on the Network BC Connectivity Map to NetworkBC@gov.bc.ca.

11. What is the Connecting BC Agreement (CBCA)?

The Connecting British Columbia Agreement (CBCA) is a non-monetary agreement that was signed in 2011 between the B.C. government and TELUS to expand high-speed Internet access and cellular coverage on highways. Through the CBCA, TELUS will connect more than 1700 km of highways with cellular service to enhance public safety at the company’s expense and will maintain Internet connections (“Points of Presence”) to 119 communities.

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