People in Lund and sḵelhp (formerly Saltery Bay) on the Sunshine Coast will benefit from two new projects to build infrastructure providing reliable, high-speed internet access.
“We’re committed to ensuring everyone in British Columbia can access high-speed internet services, no matter where they live, by 2027,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “We know that access to high-speed internet can be crucial for people living and working in remote areas like Lund and skelhp. It can encourage community and economic growth by opening up opportunities for business, education, job training and access to services comparable to urban centres.”
More than 140 households in Lund and sḵelhp will benefit from installation of new last-mile network infrastructure providing broadband internet speeds of more than 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads, and 10 Mbps for uploads. Once completed, people in the area will have better, faster access to digital services and opportunities through high-speed connectivity. The project, being built and to be operated by service provider CityWest, will begin construction in 2024.
“As a business owner and resident of Saltery Bay, I feel that connectivity is essential for economic growth and community development in small, remote communities like ours,” said Sunny Dawn, resident and business owner from skelhp (Saltery Bay). “Businesses like mine need the ability to interact with the rest of the world to grow and succeed. This announcement is exciting. The future looks bright with the promise of access to reliable, high-speed internet.”
These projects will support the delivery of high-speed internet in Lund and sḵelhp when the capacity enabled through the Connected Coast Network is achieved. Connected Coast is laying approximately 3,500 kilometres of subsea fibre-optic cable providing backbone connectivity infrastructure to bring high-speed connectivity access to 139 communities from Prince Rupert south to Vancouver and around Vancouver Island, and is expected to be completed in 2024.
“On behalf of the Lund community, I am thrilled to support the arrival of high-speed internet,” said Jason Lennox, director, Electoral Area A, qathet Regional District. “We appreciate the federal and provincial strategies to support funding programs and make these initiatives attainable for rural and remote communities like ours. Small communities across B.C. have a very limited number of resources available to provide to infrastructure projects of this magnitude; provincial and federal grant programs make these projects feasible.”
The Government of British Columbia will invest up to $202,300 through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust. The federal government will invest up to $404,700 through the federal Universal Broadband Fund. Service provider CityWest will contribute approximately $254,000 and the qathet Regional District will contribute approximately $94,500.
“Provision of high-speed internet access to skelph (Saltery Bay) will enable our residents and visitors to have reliable and affordable access to high-speed connectivity, supporting our community’s growth, prosperity and sustainability,” said Clay Brander, Electoral Area C director and board chair, qathet Regional District. “Thanks to provincial and federal funding support, residents and visitors will be able to access to health care, business, tourism and other vital internet-reliant services.”
The Province’s investment is part of StrongerBC, B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to build the economy with an eye toward inclusive growth for communities throughout the province.
In March 2022, the governments of British Columbia and Canada announced a partnership to invest as much as $830 million to support to expansion of high-speed internet services to all households in B.C. by 2027. The Connecting Communities BC program provides funding for projects to expand high-speed internet service access to rural and remote areas of the province. The plan to connect all households will level the playing field for British Columbians, ensuring better access to services and economic opportunities for every community.
Stefan Woloszyn, CEO, CityWest – “CityWest specializes in serving rural and remote communities, and we’re thrilled to bring improved Internet services to even more communities within the qathet Regional District. These last-mile projects are crucial to ensure that all British Columbians have access to Internet connectivity, allowing them to participate in the digital world. We would like to thank the Province of B.C., the Northern Development Initiative Trust and the federal government for their connectivity vision.”
Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast– “Connectivity expansion projects, like this one benefiting people of Lund and sḵelhp (Saltery Bay), are vital for community growth and success. Access to high-speed connectivity similar to urban centres will help people on the Sunshine Coast access better services and opportunities and will help businesses grow and thrive.”
Joel McKay, chief executive officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust – “High-speed internet and connectivity are the lifelines that bridge rural British Columbia to the digital age, empowering our communities with limitless opportunities and enabling us to thrive in the 21st century. The Northern Development Initiative Trust applauds the Province and its continued commitment to providing internet service across B.C.”
Connectivity in B.C.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc
Connecting Communities BC:
StrongerBC: BC's Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/economic-plan/