Past winner: Connecting rural communities (2018)

Tell us why your nominee deserves to be recognized for making your community stronger: 

When we think of connecting Canada we think of bridging the digital divide in rural communities in Western Manitoba. We share the vision of the national goal of providing high-speed, broadband Internet to small, rural communities in Western Manitoba, so residents may enjoy access to commerce, employment opportunities, distance education and make the most of the digital economy, no matter where they live.

2017 was a monumental year for Westman Communications Group. As local co-operative, we invested over $5 million dollars to fibre-connect over 10 small, rural communities in one calendar year.

Each community has an average population of approximately 910 people, serviced with basic cable tv service and had basic internet with download speeds up to 5 Mbps. We know this was not ideal in today’s Communication age. We made it our goal to provide these communities with more: for students, businesses, and for people to seamlessly connect to Canada. Simple things like having the ability to Skype or Facetime smoothly, or even stream movies seamlessly; these communities never had the opportunity to enjoy those little things that are important to their quality of life.

Westman has fibre-connected these communities so they now have faster, broadband Internet speeds with download speeds up to 150 Mbps (30 times faster than before) and uploads of up t0 15 Mbps.

Pictured above are some of our technicians laying the ground work to prepare Hamiota and Birtle for the upcoming service availability.

Communities connected in 2017:

  • Glenboro
  • Deloraine
  • Melita
  • Shoal Lake
  • Hamiota
  • Russell
  • Roblin
  • Birtle
  • Strathclair
  • Rossburn
  • Binscarth


Why did this matter/make a difference in your community?

We have received tremendous accolades from community reeves and council members of how grateful they are for the communication advancements. They are now able to tap into new opportunities in government, business and commerce, education, and recreation. Most of these communities have spotty cellphone coverage, so the fibre connectivity also gives them access to reliable home phone service as well as new high-powered Internet provides residents with the ability to connect with families across Canada amongst the other endless possibilities. We are honoured to invest in our communities, bridging the digital divide to make more possible by Connecting Canadians.


When did/does this take place (approximately)?