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Internet claim doesn't impress Cherryville
Cherryville residents aren’t convinced Victoria’s promise about connectivity has been kept.
The provincial government has indicated that it has delivered on its commitment to improve access to high-speed Internet in B.C. communities.
“We haven’t got anything here yet,” said Eugene Foisy, regional district director for Cherryville.
“We’ve fallen through the cracks. It’s pretty frustrating.”
The Regional District of North Okanagan has received $100,000 from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust to put towards high-speed Internet service, but the total cost is about $600,000.
Federal funds are being sought as is support from the provincial government.
“We haven’t heard if it’s going to happen or when,” said Foisy.
The lack of high-speed Internet is increasingly a challenge for the number of home-based businesses in Cherryville and parts of rural Lumby.
“People are trying to make a living out here and they rely on the Internet,” said Foisy of the need to contact customers and suppliers.
“Dial-up is too slow. It’s almost like having nothing.”
Parents have also been forced to take extreme action so their children can complete school assignments.
“They will drive up on a ridge and you will see people in their cars trying to get the Internet,” said Foisy of residents trying to access signals.
Under the Connecting B.C. Agreement between the government and Telus, there has been a focus on improving connectivity across the province.
Since the signing of the agreement in 2011, 455 kilometres of new highway cellular service has been installed, and remote communities throughout the province enjoy local Internet services with many seeing their connection infrastructure upgraded.
“Expanding cellular service along our highways or supporting affordable access to high-speed Internet, especially in remote communities, are the kinds of commitments we make to keep B.C. at the leading edge,” said Ben Stewart, citizens’ services minister.
Beginning in spring, the B.C. Broadband Satellite Initiative is expected to bring satellite-based high-speed Internet to citizens in remote or geographically challenging locations in B.C.