Province to announce expanded rural broadband in Manitoba

The province of Manitoba will announce funding to help expand rural broadband and cell service in rural areas.

Premier Brian Pallister and Central Services Minister Reg Hewler will make the announcement at 11 a.m.

Global News will livestream the press conference here.

Read more: Manitoba municipality residents suddenly thrust into cell phone dead zone

Coverage in rural Manitoba for high-speed internet and cellphone service has been spotty or non-existent for years, which can lead to delays for first responders and other emergency situations as landline use drops.

Earlier this year, an agreement between three organizations was reached to funnel $260 million into broadband internet service in underserved rural Manitoba communities.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), Valley Fiber Ltd. and DIF Capital Partners announced the signing of an agreement in principle to contribute the funding to increase broadband through the Southern Manitoba Fibre project.

The project is expected to benefit up to more than 49,000 Manitoba households via 2,550 kilometres of fibre-optic cabling, and according to a release from CIB, will create up to 400 jobs during its construction, including 50 permanent jobs with Valley Fiber.

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—With files from Sam Thompson

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