More than $5.64 million in provincial funding for two Connected Coast programs, with CityWest being named as the communication service provider was announced by the Ministry of Citizen’s Services, on Aug. 5.
CityWest will grow by building and expanding the internet network services in the jointly announced projects of $3.26 million to upgrade services to Denman Island and $2.38 million for work on Hornby Island.
“We’re absolutely thrilled about today’s announcement, which is the result of huge support at the provincial and community levels, as well as hard work from our entire team at CityWest,” Stefan Woloszyn CEO of the communication company, said. “We’re looking forward to working with and serving the communities on Denman and Hornby islands, ensuring they get great internet services and a superior customer experience.”
More than 1,350 households will begin to see improvements through these projects, with reliable, high-speed internet coming through the Connected Coast project.
“For many years Denman and Hornby Islanders have had some of the worst internet in our region. Residents clearly asked for a solution, and I am happy that with this major provincial grant opportunity we may be able to provide fibre optic internet to every home on the islands at an affordable cost,” Daniel Arbour, director with the Comox Valley Regional District, said.
The recent announcement fits with CityWest’s mission to improve Internet connectivity in underserved rural and remote communities. Over the last few months, CityWest has also announced its intention to expand into Vanderhoof, Cortes Island, Bella Coola, Bamfield, Tow Hill, Tlell, and Zeballos, CityWest stated in an Aug. 10 media release.
“The announcement on Denman and Hornby Islands expands our service area greatly, and it shows how hungry people are for great Internet and amazing customer service,” Woloszyn said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important these services are to people living in rural and remote communities, and we’re grateful for the government’s support to help us build these essential networks.”
The Connected Coast project is a $45.4 million joint investment by the federal and B.C. governments to fund an undersea cable network that will bring backbone bandwidth via sub-sea fibre optics to 139 rural and remote coastal communities between Vancouver and Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii, and around Vancouver Island. The Connected Coast project is co-managed by CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District, with Northern Development Initiative Trust as the fund administrator.
“We are moving toward a future where people in communities up and down the coast have the same level of internet services being offered in urban centres like Vancouver and Victoria,” Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services said. “Upgrading the networks on Hornby and Denman will boost the performance of internet access this year and prepare the islands to be connected to the high-performance Connected Coast network.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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