Major Connectivity Investments for Coastal Communities
Coastal communities in BC will benefit from faster and more reliable internet access as part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. Last month, (March 26, 2021) the Province of B.C. announced $10 million in funding for Internet service provider CityWest and partner in Strthcona Regional District’s (SRD) Connected Coast project to build last-mile internet connections in the following communities:
• Masset, Village of Queen Charlotte, and Skidegate on Haida Gwaii
• Bella Coola
• Cortes Island
• Quadra Island
Funding from this announcement will enhance connectivity for more than 2,800 coastal homes supporting last mile connections, the cable that brings internet out of the sea and into living rooms and offices.
UBF Last Mile Funding Applications Submitted
Additional last mile funding applications were submitted to the federal Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program in March 2021 and we are waiting to hear if the applications were successful.
Both the SRD and CityWest are committed to working with communities to partner on last mile connections.
The last mile projects mentioned above will connect to the backbone Connected Coast internet infrastructure. Communities require both components to access high speed fibre optic internet.
Connected Coast Project Schedule
The project team is currently working through the permitting process, consulting with area residents, First Nations, local governments, and stakeholders with construction to begin later this summer.
As construction progresses, points of connectivity will begin to go live in a phased approach. The first group of communities will be connected in 2021 and the last group of communities are expected to be connected in 2023.
Baylink Networks Awarded Construction Contract for Connected Coast
CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) were happy to announce earlier this year (Jan 7, 2021) that Baylink Networks was selected as the prime contractor for designing and building the Connected Coast project.
Baylink Networks is a private company based in Port Coquitlam, B.C. that specializes in providing turnkey undersea networks and was selected after an extensive procurement process.
The Connected Coast project will bring new or improved high-speed internet accessibility to 139 rural and remote coastal communities, including 48 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. It is anticipated that this project will be completed at the end of 2023.
Learn more about Strathcona Regional District and City West’s Connected Coast Project online at www.connectedcoast.ca.