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Posted: June 11, 2019

RDEK pushing for broadband taxation break

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors is unanimous in opposition to provincial property taxation of broadband infrastructure, citing cost overloads for rural areas already facing heavy costs.

The regional board June 7 unanimously passed three resolutions to be forwarded to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and provincial government bodies, all dealing with the taxation cost barrier that is serving to keep private investment away from broadband infrastructure initiatives.

The first resolution approved is to be forwarded to the UBCM to be discussed during the 2019 annual convention with a goal of seeking its help: “WHEREAS the cost to deploy broadband infrastructure to support connectivity services is significant and revenue opportunities in rural areas are often not adequate to provide a return on investment that would attract private investment, resulting in underserved rural communities throughout the province;
“AND WHEREAS both the provincial and federal governments have made universal access to broadband services a priority including through the provision of infrastructure grants to encourage private investment in rural areas; however, the ongoing property taxation of broadband infrastructure creates a significant additional cost which further inhibits the already strained business case for private investment in broadband connectivity;
“NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the UBCM petition the Province of British Columbia to either exempt broadband telecommunication assets from property taxation or alter the valuation scheme for broadband infrastructure serving rural communities.”

The second resolution focused on approving a RDEK delegate to attend today’s Standing Committee on Finance & Government Services meeting in Kimberley to “express the board’s concern that the taxation of broadband infrastructure inhibits the business case for private investment in broadband connectivity in rural communities and requesting that the province either exempt broadband telecommunication assets from property taxation or alter the valuation scheme for broadband infrastructure that serves rural communities.”

And the third resolution approved a letter to be sent to the Minister of Citizen’s Services expressing concern that the “taxation of broadband infrastructure inhibits the business case for private investment in broadband connectivity in rural communities and requesting that the province either exempt broadband telecommunication assets from property taxation or alter the valuation scheme for broadband infrastructure that serves rural communities.”

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