12/22/2012 03:58 EST | Updated 02/21/2013 05:12 EST

To infinity and beyond: B.C. charges forward getting communities web connected

VICTORIA - The province is reflecting on its digital days of yore, while beaming projections for a cyber future with 100-per-cent connectivity by 2021.

The B.C. government says beginning this spring it will gear up on plans to bring affordable high-speed Internet to citizens in remote and geographically-challenging locations via broadband satellite.

Within the next five years the government says it will provide more than 1,700 kilometres of new cellular coverage along unconnected highways, and over the next 10 years it will upgrade 450 schools with high-speed, fibre-optic cables.

Minister of Citizens' Services Ben Stewart says the province installed 455 kilometres of new highway cell service in the past year alone.

Gordon Kirk, with the B.C. ambulance service, says the expanded coverage has enabled more people to call 911 for help and allowed paramedics to respond to emergencies faster.

More than $40 million dollars from two levels of government are also being invested to get First Nations communities online.