High-speed internet is coming to northern Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday.

The province is contributing up to $20 million to provide increased broadband connection to First Nations, rural, and northern communities, which combined with federal funds will see $83 million invested.

This is part of the federal government’s five-year Connect to Innovate program aimed at enhancing broadband service in rural and remote communities across the country.

In Manitoba, the plan is for 112 rural and northern communities to gain access to high-speed internet.

Following the announcement, Grand Chief Sheila North addressed the fact that many of the communities that will be getting internet services still don’t have basic needs such as access to clean drinking water.

“Some homes even like and prefer wood stoves, and some people still haul water in some of their homes, but more and more we’re finally starting to catch up on a lot of the modern technologies in our communities,” she said. “We’ve been left in the dark too long and it’s about time the north starts getting some attention and some innovation and infrastructure built in.”

The government said education and healthcare will be two areas that benefit, with libraries, hospitals, and community centres getting internet access.

The program is scheduled to be completed by 2019.