The Connected Coast project will bring new or improved high-speed internet accessibility to 154 rural and remote coastal communities, including 56 Indigenous communities representing 44 First Nations - along the BC coast from north of Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii, south to Vancouver, and around Vancouver Island.

The project details a plan to place over 3,400 km of subsea fibre-optic cable, stretching from Prince Rupert south to Vancouver, then around Vancouver Island. In total, it is estimated that the project has the potential to benefit 175,000 British Columbians, living in 90,000 households.

The impact of the project and the opportunities it will provide to these communities will be enormous. Access to reliable high-speed internet and cell phone service means that residents will be able to access online learning and health services, emergency notifications, news and participate in online discussions and sharing. It will also open new economic development opportunities for residents who will be able to work remotely and participate on e-commerce and online business development.

The Project Partners

The project will be managed and implemented by CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District (SRD). The two organizations initially submitted individual projects but realized improved services for both areas could be attained by connecting the two networks. By providing links from Northern BC, and around Vancouver Island to the internet exchange in Vancouver, the infrastructure will increase service reliability for residents on the mainland, on the island and in rural and remote coastal communities by providing an alternate route for service, known as a redundancy.

Another benefit is reduced project cost as the two partners are able to pool resources and share costs.

The SRD and CityWest will work to engage and consult with local communities, regional districts, First Nations and local internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure the project meets the needs of communities now and in the future. The SRD and CityWest will also work with local ISPs, communities and anchor institutions that are interested in upgrading their local networks to allow for last-mile connections to the infrastructure.

Project Funding

Overall, the project will cost an estimated $45.4 million. The SRD will receive $33 million to place the required high-speed infrastructure around Vancouver Island and southern coastal, providing the required infrastructure for 131 communities to be able to connect to the internet.

CityWest will receive $12.4 million to provide the necessary infrastructure to enable 23 communities to connect to the internet. Funding for the project is being provided by the Government of Canada’s Connect to Innovate (CTI) program, Indigenous Services Canada, and the Province of BC through the Connecting British Columbia program administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.