The $45.4-million Connected Coast project has reached a new milestone with 87 kilometres of fibre-optic cable stretching across the seabed of Hecate Strait, which will bring high-speed connectivity to Haida Gwaii.
“Anyone, anywhere in the province, should have access to reliable high-speed internet,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Through Connected Coast, people and businesses in remote and underserved communities along B.C.’s coast can stay connected and participate in local and global economic opportunities. We thank all of our partners, including the federal government, CityWest, Strathcona Regional District, Indigenous communities and local government for helping connect British Columbians to the opportunities and tools they need to succeed and build a secure, sustainable future.”
The arrival of the subsea cable-laying vessel in Haida Gwaii marks the completion of fibre-optic-cable-laying activities between Haida Gwaii and the B.C. coastal mainland, and the first step toward better connectivity for Haida Gwaii residents. Announced in 2018, the Connected Coast project will bring high-speed internet to approximately 139 rural and remote communities, including 48 First Nations communities, along the B.C. coast from north of Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii, south to Vancouver and to Vancouver Island. The project is approximately 45% complete with more than 500 kilometres of fibre-optic cable laid and 21 landing sites completed.
“We need to close the connectivity gap and ensure that every nook and cranny of British Columbia has access to reliable high-speed internet,” said Gudie Hutchings, federal Minister of Rural Economic Development. “The Government of Canada is proud to partner with British Columbia to connect households in the Haida Gwaii region. We will continue to make investments like these to help achieve our national target of connecting 98% of Canadians by 2026 and 100% by 2030.”
On June 29, 2022, the cable-laying ship arrived in Tlell and began laying cable across Hecate Strait toward Bonilla Island, building backbone infrastructure for high-speed connectivity in Haida Gwaii. Network commissioning and activation activities are expected to occur over the coming months and will begin once this section of cable laying is complete. The Connected Coast project is expected to be complete by March 2023.
In March 2022, the Province partnered with the federal government to provide as much as $830 million to expand high-speed internet services to the remaining rural and First Nations communities that are underserved.
The plan to connect every household in B.C. to high-speed internet by 2027 will level the playing field for British Columbians and ensure every community has better access to jobs, education, training and health care.
The Province’s investment is part of the StrongerBC initiative under B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to build economy with an eye toward inclusive growth for communities.
- Of the $45.4 million invested in Connected Coast, $22 million will come from the Connect to Innovate program, a federal program to provide underserved communities with access to high-speed internet; $12 million from Indigenous Services Canada; and $11.4 million from the Province of British Columbia through the Connecting British Columbia program.
- The subsea fibre-optic cable will run more than 3,400 kilometres along the coast of B.C. and it will be one of the longest coastal subsea networks in the world.
- The fibre is protected to ensure it is not damaged and consists of glass strands approximately as thick as a strand of human hair.
- When it’s operational, hundreds of gigabits of data will stream through the subsea fibre-optic cable every second.
Connected Coast: https://connectedcoast.ca
Connecting British Columbia, administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/fundingprograms/partner-programs/connecting-british-columbia
Connectivity in B.C.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc
StrongerBC: B.C.'s Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.ca/plan