LAX KW’ALAAMS – Today, CityWest officially launches Internet services in Lax Kw’alaams. This marks the first community along the Connected Coast to receive services from the subsea fibre-optic cable.
In January fibre was laid from Prince Rupert to Lax Kw’alaams, and connected by a shore landing, providing the backbone infrastructure necessary for faster, more reliable Internet services.
CityWest and the Lax Kw’alaams band jointly entered into a unique partnership agreement, creating a new company, CityWest LKB Communications Corp. The agreement will see CityWest take over the infrastructure in Lax Kw’alaams to provide Internet and TV services to residents and businesses. This unique partnership agreement will see a portion of the profits from services in Lax Kw’alaams reinvested into the band, while also giving community members more influence over their connectivity needs.
“Connectivity has always been an issue for remote B.C. communities like Lax Kw’alaams,” said Ted Adnitt, CAO of the Lax Kw’alaams band. “The infrastructure provided by the Connected Coast project, along with CityWest’s network will bring faster, more reliable services to our community.”
Launching Internet services is just the first step for Lax Kw’alaams. In the coming weeks, CityWest will be launching TV services in the community over the new CityWest Stream platform. Lax Kw’alaams will be the first community to get access to the new TV platform, which offers more flexible viewing options and additional HD channels. Phone services are planned to be available later in 2022.
“This is an exciting day as we witness the first of 139 communities along the Connected Coast receive services. The tangible benefits of this project are now being seen after years of hard work from the project’s stakeholders,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “We are honoured to partner with the Lax Kw’alaams band to deliver last-mile services, and we would like to express our thanks to the Province of B.C., the Federal Government, and Indigenous Services Canada for making the Connected Coast project happen.”
“This is a tremendous milestone in the Connected Coast project with Lax Kw’alaams becoming the first community to receive internet services,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast and Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “High-speed connectivity is critical in remote communities for people to work, learn, access health care and emergency services, and allows businesses to participate in the local and global economy.”
About the Connected Coast project
The Connected Coast project is a joint venture between CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District. The $45.4 million project received funding from the government of Canada’s Connected to Innovate program ($22 million), Indigenous Services Canada ($12 million), and the Province of B.C. through the Connected British Columbia program ($11.4 million). When complete, the Connected Coast project will provide backbone communication services to 139 rural and remote communities, including 48 Indigenous communities – representing 44 First Nations – along the BC Coast from Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii, south to Vancouver, and around Vancouver Island.
The project will touch approximately 90,000 households in rural and remote communities around B.C., stretching 3,400 kilometres – about the distance from Vancouver to Ottawa. Laid in an environmentally-friendly manner on the ocean floor, it will be one of the longest coastal subsea networks in the world.