Council of the Haida Nation and CityWest Announce Partnership Agreement

Oct 15, 2021

The Council of the Haida Nation, Skidegate Band Council, Old Massett Band Council, and CityWest are jointly announcing a partnership agreement, which will see communities on Haida Gwaii connected to a world-class fibre-to-the-home network.

The partnership will see the creation of a new company, CityWest Haida Communications Corp. The fibre-to-home network will be owned by the Haida Nation, and powered by CityWest fibre-optic services. The agreement – the first of its kind in the telecommunications industry –will also send a share of the new company’s profits to the Haida, resulting in a direct financial benefit to community members.

“Developing last-mile connectivity solutions will be transformative for our communities
because of the many benefits that modern fibre network solutions will bring with the capacity to meet our growing needs and provide more reliable service,” said Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, President of the Haida Nation.

This partnership expands the Haida Nation’s governance over Internet services on Haida Gwaii and delivers on CityWest’s continuing mission to improve connectivity in underserved rural and remote communities.

“We are very excited about this agreement because it’s more than a partnership – it’s an
opportunity for the communities to own their connectivity destiny for many years into the
future,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “As a company that was built in northern BC, we’re proud to have this opportunity to serve new communities in our region.”

CityWest Haida Communications Corp. will be able to serve these customers by connecting these communities to the Connected Coast network, an undersea cable project that will bring backbone bandwidth to 139 rural and remote coastal communities along the BC coast. The Connected Coast project, funded by the federal and provincial governments, is co-managed by CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District.

The partnership will yield results very soon. The first phase of construction for Internet
services – building a “drop” from the road to the home – will be starting in the next few
months. Further construction updates will be released as the project commences.