GAMBIER ISLAND –Today, the provincial and federal governments announced a nearly $1.9 million funding investment to bring high-speed Internet access to Gambier and Keats Islands, naming CityWest as the service provider who will use the funds to build and operate a new, state-of-the-art fibre-optic network. The $3.1 million project will provide connectivity to 663 households between the two islands as part of a larger federal-provincial funding commitment announced in May 2022.
Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s progress toward making sure that 98% of Canadians have access to high-speed Internet by 2026 and 100% by 2030.
Once the fibre-optic infrastructure on Gambier and Keats Islands has been completed, it will be tied into the Connected Coast project. This network will provide a secure, redundant fibre-optic connection, providing both Islands with world class urban style connectivity.
Last month, the Connected Coast project began cable laying in southern British Columbia in the Hecate Strait. The project has made tremendous progress over the year, setting the stage for advanced backbone connectivity for coastal B.C., Haida Gwaii, and Vancouver Island.
“We’re thrilled to continue expanding our services to more underserved areas of British Columbia. We know how critical connectivity is for the future growth of these communities in the digital age. This last-mile fibre-optic build, along with the Connected Coast’s backbone, will future-proof Internet for Gambier Island and Keats Island for decades to come.” – Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest
“Our government is committed to ensuring that all British Columbians have access to affordable and reliable high-speed Internet—a must in today’s increasingly digital world. Our investments in connectivity are creating jobs, improving access to essential services and helping families and friends stay in touch. The projects announced today will connect hundreds of homes in New Brighton and on Keats Island to fast and reliable high-speed Internet. This will make life better for everyone across our community, from families to workers to seniors.” – Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country
“We need to close the connectivity gap and ensure that every nook and cranny of British Columbia has access to reliable high-speed Internet. Today’s announcement of nearly $1.9 million in combined federal-provincial funding to connect over 600 households in two rural communities in the province is great news for British Columbians. Investments like these help create jobs, improve access to health care and online learning services, enhance safety and keep us connected to our loved ones. The Government of Canada will continue to make investments like these to help achieve our national target of connecting 98% of Canadians by 2026 and 100% by 2030.” – The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development
"The importance of connectivity for the growth and success of our rural and remote communities cannot be overstated. Access to high-speed connectivity is vital to daily life and the long-term success of people in B.C. Investments like these ensure our rural communities can have the high-speed connectivity they need for better access to new, diversified economic opportunities. I would like to thank our federal partners for their commitment to supporting our goal to provide every community in B.C. with Internet access by 2027." – The Honourable Lisa Beare, British Columbia Minister of Citizens' Services
"Remote communities are unique and wonderful places to live, and access to high-speed Internet will make it easier for people on Keats Island and in New Brighton to do business and access online learning, and it will guarantee access to vital services and connections to loved ones near and far. All remote communities should have equitable access to high-speed Internet, and I am happy to see this project move forward." – Nicholas Simons, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Powell River–Sunshine Coast
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.
When complete, 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.