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TELUS releases its annual Indigenous Connectivity Report

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TELUS today released its 2020 Indigenous Connectivity Report, which highlights the transformative benefits of connectivity that have resulted from partnerships between TELUS and Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia. In partnership with Indigenous governments, TELUS has brought High Speed Internet to approximately 18,500 homes, businesses, and community hubs.

The report shares stories about Indigenous communities throughout the province and the projects and benefits that have been made possible by reliable connectivity -- everything from language revitalization and enhanced healthcare outcomes to economic development and job creation are being enabled by expanding the communities' access to High Speed Internet.The report also highlights TELUS' collaborations with communities and Indigenous organizations, including support during COVID-19; increased wireless coverage along Highway 16; community programs for connecting youth to culture; and holistic social services.

"Meaningful engagement and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples can only happen within the framework of inclusive dialogue, collaboration, and partnership," said Tony Geheran, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for TELUS. "We are proud of the strong, meaningful, and collaborative relationships we have built with Indigenous Peoples and governments to bring world-leading connectivity to more Indigenous communities, while supporting their long term goals and demonstrating TELUS' commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action."

By the numbers:

  • 178 Indigenous communities serviced by TELUS
  • Approximately 18,500 homes, businesses, and community hubs have access to High Speed Internet
  • 56 Indigenous communities connected to TELUS PureFibre
  • 87 Indigenous lands (Reserves, Treaty lands, and self-governed lands) connected to TELUS PureFibre
  • 128 Indigenous communities, 430 Indigenous lands connected to our wireless high speed internet (wHSIA) networks

More than $25 million has been invested to date to connect Indigenous communities in BC to our PureFibre network, including enhanced wireline and wireless connectivity. TELUS partners with Indigenous, federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as well as partners like the All Nations Trust Company (ANTCO), the Pathways to Technology project, and the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) to extend life-changing technology into Indigenous communities. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, these partnerships have been even more critically important.

In 2019, with funding from Pathways to Technology, TELUS brought TELUS PureFibre to the Esk'etemc and Xatśūll First Nation's in central BC. For the Esk'etemc First Nation, their recently expanded network will allow for cultural preservation and expanded commerce for local businesses. Connectivity has also vastly improved how the Nation's government communicates with membership.

"Purefibre has allowed us to download and pass information much faster in the community," said Patricia Chelsea, Managing Director of Esk'etemc. "Video calls on zoom and other video platforms are totally new for us, something that wasn't possible before. It is a valuable asset for us."

For Xatśūll First Nation, TELUS' PureFibre connectivity has dramatically changed how its government operates, allowing the office to save money and resources and, more importantly, focus on achieving the Nation's strategic goals.

"We've changed our community from a bit of a digital desert to a growing connected community. We've been able to launch our own Information Technology business and have had the capacity to continue to do business during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Xatśūll Chief Sherri Sellars. "It has also greatly enhanced our ability to connect with members and them with us. Furthermore, we're currently working to improve the online visibility of our businesses which would have been challenging without high-speed internet."

Haislakala, the language of the Haisla people, provides an essential connection between the people and their land. The addition of TELUS PureFibre means that community members living within and outside their home territory can access online resources, such as videos and online language lessons, which provide the membership with the opportunity to not only learn Haislakala, but also to reconnect with their culture. Teresa Windsor, a member of the Haisla Nation, says that the revitalization of Haislakala has brought significant benefits to her community.

"Haislakala is more than a means of communication, it is a tangible symbol of culture and nation identity that expresses Haisla values, providing a window into the unique worldviews of our people," said Windsor. "In learning my language, I have found immense confidence and strength, the positivity of which then ripples through my family and to my extended family and community. I am filled with hope when I hear Haislakala being spoken and shared by all generations."

T'exelc, also known as the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN), has a population of almost 800 members, with over 200 of those members living in their main community southeast of the City of Williams Lake. In 2018, WLFN approached TELUS to determine how they could collaborate to bring TELUS' next-generation fibre-optic connectivity to the community. In partnership with WLFN and the government of BC's Connecting BC Funding, TELUS PureFibre was turned on in the summer.

"High-speed internet has been a goal of our government for multiple years," said Chief Willie Sellars. "As community leaders, we are committed to improving the quality of life for our people. Services, such as reliable internet, are a necessary part of existence in the modern world."

About TELUS
About TELUS TELUS (TSX:T, NYSE:TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications and information technology company with $15.3 billion in annual revenue and 15.7 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security. We leverage our global-leading technology to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. TELUS Health is Canada's largest healthcare IT provider, and TELUS International delivers the most innovative business process solutions to some of the world's most established brands. Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all Canadians for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired our team members and retirees to contribute more than $700 million and 1.3 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com, or follow us @TELUSNews on Twitter. For media inquiries, please contact:

Richard Gilhooley
richard.gilhooley@telus.com
(778) 868-0235


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