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Westman Communications Group (Westman) was a successful candidate for the Government of Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) and will receive $3 million to connect additional rural communities to fibre-optic high-speed Internet. As part of the UBF (Rapid Response Stream) program, Westman will contribute over $3 million, on top of the funding, for more than $6 million invested in Benito, Bowsman, Birch River, and Wuskwi Sipihk. Westman will enhance residential and commercial access to high-speed Internet in these communities by the end of 2021.
“The ability to bring leading-edge fibre-optic technology to these communities creates opportunities for families to stay connected and entertained as well as benefit from remote learning. It also enables businesses to grow and participate in the global economy,” said Dave Baxter, President and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Westman. “High speed Internet is essential to community growth and sustainability. As a local Manitoba Cooperative, we are dedicated to this initiative, and we would like to thank the Federal Government for their commitment as well.”
Access to advanced communications services is important for all residents and businesses in Manitoba, and this program will assist in filling the connectivity gap in these rural areas. To assist in the transition to a digital economy, Westman will offer High-Speed Internet, enhanced TV and Voice services to nearly 500 businesses and households in these communities.
“High-speed Internet service is essential to the success of everyone living and working in rural communities across Manitoba... This will help create jobs, improve access to health care and online learning services, and keep people connected to their family, friends and loved ones,” said The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. “Our government has committed $223 million to 22 broadband projects in Manitoba, which will connect over 91,000 more households to better, faster Internet. We will continue to make investments like these to help connect every Canadian to the high-speed Internet they need.”
Westman has connected over 30 under-served communities across Manitoba to high-speed Internet since starting their expansion initiative in 2015. These communities previously did not have access to high-speed Internet and can now enjoy download speeds up to 300 Mbps, and in select areas, up to 1 Gigabit, with Westman’s services.
This is just the beginning for Westman on their journey to connect even more rural communities. To learn more about Westman and the services they have to offer, visit www.westmancom.com.
About Westman Communications Group
Westman Communications Group is the operating name for Westman Media Cooperative Ltd., which provides service throughout Manitoba. Westman is a customer-owned cooperative, operating broadband systems in 46 communities. Westman is a leader in communication services, including Internet, Digital HD TV, and Phone. Westman also owns and operates local radio stations Q Country 91.5 FM and 94.7 STAR FM, broadcast throughout Western Manitoba. Westman is proud of its strong commitment to its members and the communities it serves.
About Universal Broadband Fund
With the proposed Budget 2021, the now $2.75 billion Universal Broadband Fund will support high-speed Internet projects across the country. Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021-22, to the Universal Broadband Fund to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects. The Universal Broadband Fund has been designed to fund broadband infrastructure projects that will bring high-speed Internet at 50/10 Megabits per second (Mbps) to rural and remote communities.
The Universal Broadband Fund includes a Rapid Response Stream to which $150 million is dedicated for projects that can be started and completed quickly. These projects will provide immediate connectivity improvements and will be completed by the end of 2021.