KAMLOOPS, BC, March 26, 2019 /CNW/ - Pathways to Technology will be connecting nine First Nations in the Cariboo Chilcotin to high speed fibre optic internet over the next 22 months. The project will significantly improve access to health care, education, economic development opportunities and emergency response services to upwards of 2,200 people living in 13 communities within the nations of Esdilagh, Xatśūll, Stswecem'c Xgat'tem, Esketemc, Ulkatcho, Tŝideldel, Tl'etinqox, Yunes't'in and Tl'esqox.
Pathways to Technology was originally funded through unconditional grants from the B.C. and Canadian governments totaling $40.8 million; a portion of this funding will be applied to the project. Pathways to Technology has selected TELUS to build their PureFibre network throughout these communities, representing a significant new infrastructure project. Both TELUS and the Interior Health Authority have contributed complementary funding in support of the connectivity.
TELUS' PureFibre network will enable connected residents and businesses to take advantage of services like video conferencing, distance learning, and virtual classrooms, to access applications for preserving Indigenous language and culture and to use online tools for research, asset management, emergency readiness, tourism promotion and home security. Communities will also have better access to online services from Interior Health and the First Nations Health Authority and other leading-edge e-health technologies and services.
Community consultations and design work are underway, and Pathways to Technology and TELUS anticipate construction will start in the second quarter of 2019, with project completion by December 2020.
Acting Chief Sherri Sellars, Xatśūll First Nation –
"This is an exciting endeavour, the Connectivity Project between Pathways to Technology and Soda Creek Band (Xatśūll), the aspiration of the project is to create stronger relationships through improved access to internal and external communication in the community through fibre (broadband) to each of the residences, governance buildings, and businesses. This will open the lines of communication to the community in the comfort of their own homes, the ability to manage our own communication data in the administration offices and the ability move away from the costly communication processes in place to date."
Chief Otis Guichon, Tŝideldel First Nation –
"A PureFibre solution will not only bring faster internet for our band and its members, but a better quality of life for the community as a whole. TELUS PureFibre internet will give the community better access to the business world abroad."
Honourable Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens' Services –
"Reliable and affordable high-speed internet service is essential for helping B.C.'s rural and Indigenous communities grow and thrive. Connectivity diversifies local resource-based economies, preserves language and culture, keeps more young people close to home, and enables better access to government services. Broadband services are particularly important for self-determination, allowing communities to decide how to best leverage technology to improve people's quality of life."
Tony Geheran, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, TELUS –
"We are proud to have been selected by Pathways to Technology to bring TELUS PureFibre, the most advanced and capable Broadband Network technology available to Canadians to the region, equipping these communities with Internet capacity and speeds that will support continued creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship on these lands for generations to come. TELUS is committed to ensuring all citizens can thrive in our digital world, regardless of where they live, and this investment equips these communities with the same Internet speeds and bandwidth available in other PureFibre communities like Quesnel, Williams Lake, and Vancouver. Since 2013 TELUS has invested more than $3 billion to bring our PureFibre network to more than 116 communities in B.C., Alberta and eastern Quebec, and will have connected more than 50 indigenous communities in B.C. and Alberta to this network by the end of next year. PureFibre will enable these communities to easily maintain digital records, upload large files, operate a small business locally while competing globally, and use videoconference capabilities such as Babylon Health powered by TELUS to connect with healthcare specialists from the comfort of their home."
Susan Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer, Interior Health Authority –
"We are seeing increased access to health services through technology and this announcement will transform how health care can be delivered in this area. High-speed internet opens the door to better and more frequent communication between patients who are in rural communities, and the health care team from a distance. This investment will make it easier for First Nations to provide and receive care locally, with the support from Interior Health."
Paul Donald, Chief Executive Officer, All Nations Trust Company and Ruth Williams, Project Manager, Pathways to Technology –
"Our challenges are to bridge the digital divide faced by our communities and to address changing demands by thinking forward. This build will meet both of these challenges and will also enable our communities to overcome many issues that geographic barriers create. Access to high speed internet provides a critical link to the health and economic well-being of these communities. This takes us a step closer in fulfilling our goal which is to connect B.C. First Nations to the world regardless of where they live."
All Nations Trust Company (ANTCO) is a trust company registered in 1984 and in operation since 1988 with its head office in Kamloops, British Columbia. ANTCO's 214 shareholders are wholly owned by Indigenous organizations, communities and individuals. and ANTCO also owns B.C.'s only 100% Indigenous -owned insurance brokerage.
Pathways to Technology is a project managed by ANTCO. The project's original mandate, expected to be met by March 2021, is to ensure all 203 First Nations in British Columbia have access to high-speed internet service.
Learn more: www.pathwaystotechnology.ca
SOURCE All Nations Trust Company
For further information: Media Contacts: Carmen Salaberry, Pathways to Technology Media Relations, 778-838-9355, [email protected]; Ruth Williams, Project Manager, Pathways to Technology, 250-371-7452, [email protected]