Fibre-to-home construction has been planned for Strathcona Regional District communities. (Black Press Media)

Fibre-to-home construction has been planned for Strathcona Regional District communities. (Black Press Media)

Strathcona Regional District communities to get fibre-to-home infrastructure

Technology announced for communities that were ineligible for grant funding

The fibre-to-home portion for the Strathcona Regional District’s Connected Coast project is starting up for residents of the area.

The technology is being rolled out to Tahsis, Gold River, Quadra Island, Zeballos, Ehattesaht First Nation, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations, Walters Cove, Sayward Valley and Sayward. It will enable residents of these communities to have access to high speed internet. These communities were ineligible for grant funding, which was available to other areas of the regional district. Funds for these communities are being sourced through a borrowing agreement with CityWest.

“Communities receiving internet services above the minimum federal standard of 50Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps download speed are not eligible for grants,” said a SRD press release. “Data from internet service providers show residents have access to the minimum 50/10 Mbps service, however, speed tests conducted in numerous communities indicated that upload/download speeds were considerably lower than the federal standard.”

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As part of the partnership, CityWest will cover the cost of debt payments for the infrastructure and operate the network. Each community or electoral area has invested in the infrastructure, which will result in an annual return to the community of 20 per cent, according to the press release.

“We are excited to see boots on the ground constructing this valuable infrastructure that will allow SRD communities access to high-speed internet. This investment will help us to reinvent our small communities, improve their livelihood and improve residents’ ability to participate in education, e-commerce and health programs,” said SRD Chair Brad Unger.

The new infrastructure is expected to bring internet that is “far more than the recommended 50/10 threshold set by the Government of Canada,” the release said.

To help ease the connection part of the project, CityWest has launched a “dropping in” campaign. People in the communities listed above are invited to sign up for a fibre optic cable drop to be installed directly into their homes. As part of the campaign, the connection will be free, but must be done before construction of the fibre-to-home infrastructure is complete. It is necessary for homes to be connected to the network. People that request a connection after the construction is complete will incur an installation charge.

“There is no obligation to become a CityWest customer,” the release says.

For more information and frequently asked questions about the ‘Dropping-In’ campaign, please visit www.citywest.ca/dropping-in.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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