Denman Island and Hornby Island residents will soon have faster, more reliable internet access. Telecomm company, CityWest, will receive up to $3.26 million to improve service on Denman Island and up to $2.38 million for work on Hornby Island.
The funds will come from the province’s Connecting British Columbia program, which aims to improve internet access for coastal and remote communities.
“We are moving toward a future where people in communities up and down the coast have the same level of internet services being offered in urban centres like Vancouver and Victoria,” said Lisa Beare, minister of citizens’ services. “Upgrading the networks on Hornby and Denman will boost the performance of internet access this year and prepare the islands to be connected to the high-performance Connected Coast network.”
More than 1,350 households will see improvements through these projects, according to the province.
Connected Coast is a $45.4-million investment in coastal connectivity, jointly funded by the federal and B.C. governments. CityWest has partnered with the Strathcona Regional District to construct a subsea fibre-optic network, with access points along B.C.’s coastline between Vancouver and Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii and around Vancouver Island. Construction is expected to begin this summer and will include stops on the Gulf Islands.
“While in-person connections are at the heart of our home support, outreach and family support services, we rely on the internet to make this work possible,” said Lori Nawrot, executive director, Hornby and Denman Community Health Care Society. “Our staff often work in isolation in empty or marginal pockets of internet and cellular reception. Improved service will make our jobs safer and expand our options for online training and certification, crucial for the recruitment of new staff.”
People on Denman and Hornby islands will be able to enjoy a direct fibre connection to their homes when the Connected Coast network is complete and their community is connected to a proposed landing site.
“We’re absolutely thrilled about today’s announcement, which is the result of huge support at the provincial and community levels, as well as hard work from our entire team at CityWest,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO, CityWest. “We’re looking forward to working with and serving the communities on Denman and Hornby islands, ensuring they get great internet services and a superior customer experience.”