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$45.4 million CityWest Connected Coast project breaks ground

Connected Coast project will provide internet along the North Coast
Project partners of the Connected Coast project aboard the CanPac Valour vessel in the Campbell River harbour on Oct. 29, 2021. (Supplied photo)

CityWest’s $45.4 million Connected Coast project to further connect the North Coast to just less than 140 communities officially started on Oct. 29.

The under-ocean fibre cable will run more than 3,400 km along the B.C. coast and connect to Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island. Once completed, it will be one of the most extended coastal subsea cable networks in the world, a CityWest press release stated.

The vessel CanPac Valour, which arrived in B.C. waters on Oct. 21, is currently in Campbell River being outfitted for its journey to begin laying cable up the coast toward Haida Gwaii, the Ministry of Citizens’ Services stated on Oct. 29. The project is expected to be completed by March 2023.

“Momentum is building. Rural and remote communities will soon have the same digital opportunities as urban centres,” said Brad Unger, Strathcona Regional District Board chair.

“Through Connected Coast, people and businesses in remote and underserved communities along B.C.’s coast can stay connected and participate in economic opportunities faster,” said Lisa Beare, minister of citizens’ services.

The project is funded by the federal and provincial governments and is co-managed by CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District.

The project will bring high-speed internet access to rural and remote coastal communities, including 48 Indigenous communities.

The cable will be placed in an environmentally-friendly manner on the ocean floor, CityWest stated.

To ensure its protection, the fibre will be protected by steel-strengthened fibre members and a “tough” outer sheath made of glass strands as thin as human hair.

“When it’s operational, hundreds of gigabits of data will stream through it every second,” CityWest stated.

The subsea fibres will be placed within the coming weeks, and further construction updates will be released as the project continues.

 Norman Galimski | Journalist 
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