Work has begun on a project to improve internet access to remote coastal areas around Vancouver Island and along the B.C. coast.
According to a Connected Coast project press release, the $45-million undertaking will involve work to lay “subsea fibre-optic cable” starting at Gabriola Island and moving north to Campbell River and Discovery Island in the coming weeks.
Work will including “26 landing sites” where cable will come to shore, which are crucial pieces of infrastructure that will allow internet service providers to offer high-speed internet, the press release said.
In a separate release, Doug Routley, Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA, said the project is part of a B.C. government plan to connect every household in the province, including those in remote, rural and Indigenous communities, by 2027.
“This is great news for people and businesses on Gabriola, who have been long waiting for high-speed internet access,” Routley said in his press release. “Rural communities deserve the same digital opportunities, whether economic, education, health, or safety, as urban areas and I am so glad our government is investing in this.”
In all, 3,400 kilometres of cable will run along B.C.’s coast and connect people in an estimated 139 rural and remote communities, including 48 Indigenous communities, stated the release from the NDP caucus.
Of the $45 million for the project, $22 million is funded through the federal Connect to Innovate program, $12 million from Indigenous Services Canada and approximately $11 million from the B.C. government’s Connecting B.C. program.