Today, the Gitga’at Development Corporation, on behalf of their shareholder Gitga’at First Nation, and CityWest are jointly announcing a partnership agreement, which will improve Internet capabilities for the Nation along the north coast of B.C.
The partnership will see the creation of a new company, CityWest Gitga’at Communications Corp. The company will jointly manage a leg of the Connected Coast project between Hartley Bay and Kitimat, which will ensure community members have access to a state-of-the-art fibre-to-the-home network, bringing them advanced Internet, TV, and phone services. The new company will also provide last mile services into the community of Hartley Bay.
As part of the structure of the partnership, the new company will also re-invest a portion of its profits into Gitga’at communities; in other words, community members will own their destiny when it comes to their connectivity needs.
“The Connected Coast project will bring tremendous opportunities for our membership. Through this partnership, and the long-term nature of the relationship, we will see both revenues and opportunities which will directly benefit Gitga’at First Nation and its members,” said Paul Paterson, CEO of Gitga’at Management.
“B.C. has many coastal communities such as Hartley Bay that can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. Having a reliable, high-speed internet connection can make all the difference for people when working remotely, attending school or when connecting with family,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for the North Coast. “I’m excited for the transformational opportunities this new partnership brings”
The remote community of Hartley Bay will be connected to the world through the Connected Coast network, an undersea cable project that will bring backbone bandwidth to 139 rural and remote coastal communities along the BC coast, as well as around Vancouver Island. The Connected Coast project, funded by the federal and provincial governments, is co-managed by CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District.
“We see this partnership as just the beginning of a strong relationship with the Gitga’at Nation, a group that we hold in the highest regard,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “Their entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiastic approach to business opportunities fits perfectly with the vision and values of our company, and we’re excited about the many new adventures we’ll have with our new partners.”
The Connected Coast project will start deploying subsea fibre within the coming weeks. Further construction updates will be released as the project commences.