Prince Rupert-owned CityWest has announced two new major expansion projects, in both directions down Highway 16 west to Haida Gwaii and east to the Village of Fraser Lake.
The Haida Gwaii expansion announced on Sept. 17, is funded by the province’s Connecting British Columbia program and is part of the $90-million grant that encourages investment in broadband and cellular infrastructure to benefit people in rural and Indigenous communities throughout B.C.
“This is just a really exciting project that will connect Haida Gwaii with the rest of the world,” Kris Olsen, mayor of Daajing Giids, said. “It will allow us to expand economic development, improve education, and deliver e-health services, all while staying at home.”
Over the next several months the telecom provider will begin its initial stages of growth into the communities of Masset, Old Massett, the Village of Daajing Giids (Queen Charlotte), HlGaagilda (Skidegate), TlLaal (Tlell), and Taaw Tldaaw (Tow Hill).
The $2.1 million Village of Fraser Lake project, announced on Sept. 14, will start the first phase with representatives from Fraser Lake and CityWest going to the doors and mailboxes of residents requesting to bury and ‘drop in’ fibre optic lines on the properties. A ‘drop’ is the infrastructure that runs from the street to the customer’s premises.
Once the drops are completed, customers in Fraser Lake will have access to fibre-to-the-home services when CityWest links those connections to the backbone along Highway 16.
“We’re excited to partner with CityWest to bring fibre optic infrastructure to our community,” Sarrah Storey, mayor of Fraser Lake, said. “CityWest has been amazing to work with. They understand the needs of smaller communities dealing with connectivity concerns.”
The Village of Fraser Lake will leverage grant funding to pay for a portion of the build, meaning there will be no additional municipal taxes levied for the project.
“This is an opportunity we could not let pass us by,” Storey said. “Bringing our community into the 21st century, especially in this time where we connect online more than ever, is vital for our businesses and residents. We believe this will support growth and the sustainability of our community.”
“It was fabulous working with our partners at Fraser Lake, because they truly understand the importance of connectivity, and they’re working hard to ensure their community is well-served,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “We’re excited to show everyone in Fraser Lake how our amazing employees provide great customer experiences while providing them with state-of-the-art technology.”
with files from Norman Galimski
K-J Millar | Journalist
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