At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we reached out to our long-standing industry partner, Shaw Business, to explore ways to support online learning for higher education students in need during COVID-19.

Shaw stepped up to the request and donated 500 free cellular devices with no-fee data plans from Freedom Mobile for four months (September 1 – December 31, 2020) for eligible students enrolled at BCNET higher education member institutions.

“We are pleased to partner with Shaw to help bridge the digital and equity divide by providing BC students with better access to the internet to support online learning,” says Bala Kathiresan, president and CEO of BCNET. “We are very grateful that Shaw has stepped up to support our members in this critical time of need due to the pandemic.”


“Many of us may take for granted the power of technology to bring us together in this time of need, but not everyone enjoys the same privileges and access. We are thrilled that Shaw has been generous in working with us to help keep students connected.”


CIO | Thompson Rivers University


Internet access for students in need

BCNET member institutions will distribute 500 devices to provide critical support and equitable internet access for students in need. Students will also be presented with the option to purchase service at a reduced rate after the free, four-month plan expires. After the plan expires, the discounted fees will ensure students continue to stay connected, while providing some financial relief.

“Students who have limited access to computers and high-speed internet are not able to participate in remote learning,” claims Ted Pennell, the CIO at Camosun College. “Unfortunately, not all students can afford these services. However, with the support of Camosun’s student laptop loaner program, and high-speed internet from our amazing partners at Shaw and BCNET, we are reducing barriers to student learning at Camosun College.”



“As schools and post-secondary institutions rely more heavily on online learning due to the pandemic, it is critical that students are able to connect to the internet to access their coursework and curriculum. This partnership with BCNET will help ensure the students who may not have the resources needed to get online have an equal opportunity to stay engaged and learning throughout the school year.”


President, Business | Shaw Communications.