For around a month, the Williams Lake First Nation community has been experiencing high-speed internet for the first time.
They were one of 52 First Nations that Telus has linked to its PureFibre fibre-optic network as part of a $25-million initiative to connect 56 rural and remote First Nations in B.C. by the end of this year.
Those 52 First Nations represent 87 separate communities connected to the 50/10 Mbps standard via Telus’ fibre-optic network.
Chief Willie Sellars said that since they’ve received the upgrade, it’s been outstanding.
“Having the ability to operate at the speed of business and see the lightning speeds you take them for granted. You expect it to be at your fingertips, but it’s not something that we’ve been able to access forever,” he said. “It was like the first time I was able to drink water out of the tap. I grew up in my life with our community being under boil water advisories, and I didn’t start drinking water out of the tap until seven or so years ago and the transition of high-speed internet, I would put it to the equivalent.”
Sellars said that the new internet marks a massive milestone for the community.
“Definitely helps us take one step closer to being a healthy community to provide those services to our community,” he stated. “Before even simple things like opening an attachment on an email was a task and took time, because of how slow our internet connection was.”
Sellars said that he’s heard nothing but positive comments from community members and is grateful for the Telus, NDIT, and the provincial government.
“You take this stuff for granted, so when you do hit these major milestones or get these successful projects through the goalpost and are able to provide wins in the community, this is one of those massive wins. Something as simple as an internet connection can change people’s lives,” Sellars said. “I couldn’t be happier, and the community with reiterate that if you ask anyone of them.”
“I think that’s a key thing that we are looking at here, I mean not only are we going to be able to operate at the speed of business, but we are going to be able to provide services to our community or allow them to have access to services, without any hiccups,” Sellars added.