Connecting 139 rural and remote communities, including 48 Indigenous communities, the Connected Coast project has now reached the village of Hartley Bay. With over 250 kilometres of subsea fibre laid to date, the project was funded by the provincial and federal governments.

Last November, a partnership between CityWest and the Gitga’at Development Corporation created a new company known as the Gitga'at Communications Corporation, a company that aims to ensure high speed internet for coastal communities.

“We want to give rural communities the ability to do the things that people in urban communities are able to take for granted,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “This is levelling the playing field and creating an incredible opportunity for those who are in remote areas.”

The company will manage part of the project between Hartley Bay and Kitamaat Village, as well as provide last mile fibre-to-the-home services in the Hartley Bay community.

Fibre had previously been laid at shore landings in Metlakatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Ridley Island and Dodge Cove. Before the cabling was laid in the water, shoreline cabinets were set up in each community, acting as an access point where the community’s local network connects to the subsea network.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice says that this project not only will help communities stay connected, but will allow them to access resources and services that are considered to be unattainable at times.

“We will see a lot of people in remote areas seeing physicians, specialists and healthcare professionals via the internet. A lot of these communities need to fly in or ferry in to visit their doctors. With all the inclement weather that we have on the coast, that's not always possible so this means they will have access to quality healthcare online,” she said. “Our government is pleased to be able to help fund this project, which will improve the lives of people in my region and along the coast.”

The Connected Coast project will continue to gain momentum throughout 2022, eventually connecting areas like Bella Coola, Klemtu, Bella Bella, Martin Valley and other strategic locations in between. The construction project team will then move down to the southern areas of B.C. off the coast of Vancouver Island.