Campbell River, BC – The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board has taken an important step towards its goal of improving broadband connectivity across the region by proceeding with a joint venture agreement with CityWest, Northern BC’s telecommunications company.
At the Sept 16 SRD Board Meeting, Directors unanimously agreed to proceed with the Connected Coast project by entering a Joint Venture partnership with CityWest. Delivering broadband infrastructure to the region requires an innovative, broad collaborative approach. CityWest’s service provider strengths will complement and assist the SRD to deliver a long-term sustainable network and achieve the goals of community connectivity.
“Given the scope, complexity and magnitude of the Connected Coast project, the SRD is thrilled to proceed with the project through this joint partnership,” said Dave Leitch, CAO of the SRD. “The excitement around the region for the project is building, especially during this pandemic as people are realizing the need and how life-changing improved connectivity can be for our rural and remote communities.”
That excitement is shared by CityWest, especially around the possibilities for communities along the coast to connect more strongly with each other and with the world. “This partnership with SRD will ultimately help people in underserved communities along the coast,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “We’ve worked very closely over the past two years on this project, and we’re looking forward to seeing some tangible results soon.”
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that access to high-speed Internet is the key to our economic prosperity, health and safety. Through investments in broadband, we continue to open doors so all Canadians can stay connected with loved ones and participate in everyday activities online. We are supporting projects that will connect one million households across the country and have made billions available to connect even more. With this project, over 9000 households in coastal British Columbia will be better equipped to thrive in the digital economy.”- The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
The project’s purpose is to bring high-speed Internet accessibility to rural and remote communities along coastal B.C., Haida Gwaii, and Vancouver Island. After that high-level objective was announced in January 2018, CityWest and SRD worked closely with the federal and provincial governments to determine the details and funding of the project. Earlier this year, the project slowed down due to COVID-19, and as CityWest transitioned to a new CEO. Over the past few months, the project has been refreshed, which has led to the joint venture agreement.
The next steps in the project concern community engagement, permitting and detail network design. More information on the next steps of the project will be posted on the Connected Coast website when made official.
The Connected Coast project will construct and operate a subsea fibre-optic network that will run from north of Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii, south along coastal BC to Vancouver, then around Vancouver Island. The Connected Coast larger project will connect 159 rural and remote coastal communities, including 51 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.
To learn more about Strathcona Regional District and City West’s Connected Coast Project, please visit www.connectedcoast.ca.