High-speed internet that is reliable is no longer a luxury in any part of the world.
In most cases it is considered fundamental necessity in order to obtain services and knowledge in order to participate in society.
So when the backbone of the broadband network in the Slocan Valley was broadened, the strength of the entire internet network was significantly increased.
Around 125 kilometres of high-speed fibre optic cable were added by the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) to the broadband network in the valley, running from north of Nakusp to Crescent Valley at the bottom of the valley.
The project now adds a higher-quality connection to what has been, at best, spotty and unreliable service throughout the valley.
“Too many Basin communities continue to struggle with inadequate connectivity, and residents have clearly stated a need to improve their services to the same level as that offered in more populated areas,” said Johnny Strilaeff, CBT president and chief executive officer, in a press release.
The project has been a long time coming and was needed, said Walter Popoff, Regional District of Central Kootrenay (RDCK) board vice-chair and Area H (Slocan Valley) director.
“Reliable high-speed connectivity will allow residents in the Slocan Valley better opportunities to work remotely, expand their businesses, connect to emergency services and generally stay connected to the world beyond the RDCK,” he said.
Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, and the minister responsible for Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and the Columbia River Treaty agreed with Popoff.
“For too long British Columbians in rural and remote communities have been underserved when it comes to this essential service,” she said.
The broadband network is a linked series of fibre optic cables, located both above- and below-ground, that transfer information at high speed and volume.
The new cable runs from Playmor Junction to Shoreholme, just north of Nakusp.
The communities that will benefit are: Appledale; Brouse; Crescent Valley; Hills; Lebahdo; Lemon Creek; Nakusp; New Denver; Passmore; Perrys; Playmor Junction; Rosebery; Shoreholme; Silverton; Slocan; Slocan Park; South Slocan; Summit Lake; Vallican; and Winlaw.
The multi-million dollar project included several players contributing to the $7.3-million price tag, including $3.4 million in funding from CBT and $343,000 from the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK).
Four contributions were made by valley municipalities of Slocan ($27,675), Silverton ($26,000), New Denver ($37,500) and Nakusp ($90,500).
The province also got in on the action, dumping $3.4 million — through the Connecting British Columbia program — into the project via the Northern Development Initiative Trust.