[MEDIA RELEASE] Andrew Weaver: Tech investment in Northern B.C. lacking

Victoria B.C. - Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, today offered government an untapped opportunity for job creation and technological innovation in northern British Columbia through the introduction of broadband redundancy into the region. 

Prince George is home to a first class research university, the hub for northern BC’s forestry and natural resource sectors, and on the rail line from the Port of Prince Rupert to Chicago, one of greatest rail distribution centres in North America. The cooler climate of Prince George, relative to other jurisdictions on the west coast, also offers unique advantages for data centres. 

“Bringing the typically urban-based tech and typically rural-based resource sectors together through partnership and innovation will play a vital role in building a 21st century economy that builds on British Columbia’s strategic advantages,” says Weaver. “In order for these to be possible, it is critical that broadband internet redundancy be brought to the region. This means investing in another line of broadband connectivity for Prince George.” 

Broadband redundancy is when a city has at least two lines of connectivity to the rest of the world. Currently Prince George only has one direct highspeed line to Vancouver. 

“Tech investors, data distribution centres, and other innovators will not invest substantively in Prince George until the infrastructure is there,” says Weaver. “The best part about this opportunity is that the cost to government is negligible and the potential benefits are unbounded.”  

At a cost of about $20,000 to $25,000 per kilometre, the 300 km distance connecting Prince George to Chetwynd would cost between $6 million and $7.5 million to lay.

Telus invested $75m in a new data centre in Kamloops which opened in 2014.

“The fact that Kamloops has broadband redundancy is one of the key reasons they invested $75 million in a new data centre,” says Weaver. “This is just one example of the potential opportunities that could exist.”

Andrew Weaver asked the Minister of Technology and Innovation if he would support an investment in broadband redundancy for the city of Prince George today in Question Period.

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Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
Office of Andrew Weaver, MLA
1 250 216 3382
mat.wright@greenparty.bc.ca