Collaboration & Programs

As telecommunications is regulated federally in Canada, British Columbia takes a collaborative approach to reaching its goal of access to high-speed Internet services for 100 per cent of B.C. residents by 2021, through agreements and programs, and working with a variety of stakeholders.

Connecting BC Agreement

The Connecting British Columbia Agreement (CBCA) is a non-monetary agreement signed in 2011 between the B.C. government and TELUS to expand high-speed Internet services and highway cellular coverage. Through the CBCA, TELUS will connect more than 1700 km of highways with cellular service to enhance public safety, will maintain Internet connections (“Points of Presence”) in 119 communities, and provide access to Internet backhaul at reduced pricing for local Internet service providers in these 119 communities.

Expanded cellular coverage on highways

We understand the importance of cellular connectivity for public safety. Through the Connecting BC Agreement between the B.C. government and TELUS, TELUS will connect over 1700km of primary and secondary highways in B.C. 

Where cellular carriers expand coverage is a function of transport, geography and other determinants of the investment needed and is at the company’s discretion. Improving the quality of cell reception may require new infrastructure which may be very costly. Cellular providers often have no business case to pay for this infrastructure. In the case that a community is looking to expand cellular coverage, they may be able to enter into cost-sharing agreements with the carriers to help improve the business case for expanded services. If this is of interest, Network BC can facilitate dialogue between communities and the cellular carriers.

BC Broadband Satellite Initiative

For those locations in B.C. that are not served by terrestrial-based technologies, the BC Broadband Satellite Initiative helps to make the installation of satellite services through Xplornet more affordable.

First Nations connectivity and capacity building

Connecting all 203 First Nations using broadband technology is a priority for First Nations leadership and the B.C. government. Together we're working to improve connectivity to communities that either have little or no Internet access. Federal and provincial governments have granted $55 million to the All Nations Trust Company to connect all 203 First Nations with an Internet connection through the Pathways to Technology project.

Working with local government to expand connectivity

Last mile delivery of Internet services is often provided by small Internet service providers (ISPs) working in conjunction with various grant programs. To learn about potential plans to expand high-speed Internet services, we recommend working with your local ISPs to see if they will extend or improve coverage. Local government may also have plans to support the expansion of high-speed Internet services or to support applications for funding to expand services. 

Sometimes it is difficult for an ISP to make a business case for extending coverage. In this case, cost sharing arrangements might make it viable with various funding partners. If there is an identified gap in coverage and the local government and ISPs have been engaged, Network BC may be able to facilitate next steps.

Funding to expand high-speed Internet services

The Connecting BC Program is providing up to $10M in funding for last mile infrastructure for small Internet service providers operating throughout B.C. The funding helps to pay for infrastructure required to deliver high-speed Internet connectivity at speeds to at least 5 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up in rural and remote locales of British Columbia. The fund is administered through the Northern Development Initiative Trust and funding is awarded on a rolling basis.

Federal telecommunications regulation

The federal government, through the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), holds regulatory authority over the telecommunications industry. They often consult with their stakeholders on policies and regulatory changes.

  • Learn more about the CRTC

Previous Programs

Network BC is always looking for opportunities to start new programs and initiatives in order to meet the specific needs of different areas. Some of the programs that have run over the past few years include:

  • Connecting Citizens Grant Program (2008-2011)
  • Community Network Infrastructure Grant Program (2005-2006)

These programs helped to improve local infrastructure and brought high-speed Internet to over 200 locations throughout B.C. Funding was also used to reduce the cost of Internet access for local Internet service providers to expand coverage in remote areas.