Friday, January 28, 2022

With Fibre optic cable laying off Ridley Island, CityWest marks milestone for Connected Coast project

Crews laying fibre optic cable for
 the Connected Coast project
this week off Ridley Island
(photo from CityWest)
Those watching the harbour the last few days may have noticed a vessel  working the local waters, eventually charting a course for the Ridley Island area, where the first step in laying the first fifty kilometres of  fibre optic cable for the connected coast project has been taking place.

The Connected Coast project, a joint initiative of CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District on Vancouver Island hit a milestone this week, as the first 50 kilometres of fibre-optic cable was laid at landing sites across Northern B.C. 

As we noted last week, the fibre project was working around the community of Metlkaktla, with fibre then put in place and connected at shore landings at Lax Kw’alaams and Dodge Cove. 

Another leg was brought ashore at Ridley Island, which will connect into CityWest’s main network, the work of the week noted by CityWest President and CEO Stefan Woloszyn  

“After years of hard work and arranging permitting, we’re ecstatic to see fibre going into the water. We’re extremely proud of everyone who has been involved to get us to this point, and we’re looking forward to bringing underserved communities world-class connectivity. This is what they need and this is what we’re bringing!” 

Also sharing in the milestone moment for the Prince Rupert owned and based communication company was North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice who outlined the importance that the project has for the provincial government.

“This is a significant milestone for a project that’s laying the groundwork to bring better connectivity to 139 remote, rural and Indigenous communities along B.C.’s coast. Supporting innovative approaches to expanding connectivity has been a priority for our Government. With each successive kilometre of fibre being laid, this project ensures these communities will be able to participate in the digital economy and stay connected to their friends and loved ones.”

Once complete, the Connected Coast project will provide backbone communication services to 139 rural and remote communities, including 48 Indigenous communities – representing 44 First Nations – along the BC Coast from Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii, south to Vancouver, and around Vancouver Island. Financed by the federal and provincial governments, the $45.4 million project is a joint partnership operated by CityWest and Strathcona Regional District.

While Contractors were working on the Northern Fibre lay, in the south CityWest was starting work on the underground drop network for Cortez Island, one of the communities on the east side of Vancouver Island that CityWest is bringing service to as they expand their service footprint in the province.

In their information release of today, CityWest/Connected Coast noted that the first 50 kilometres is just the beginning of the work ahead.

Over the next few weeks, weather permitting, the project team will lay more subsea fibre-optics to other Northern communities, like Kitkatla and Oona River, before going westward to Haida Gwaii. 

The construction project team will then move down to the southern areas of the network off the east coast of Vancouver Island. When complete, the project will touch approximately 90,000 households in rural and remote communities around B.C., stretching 3,400 kilometres – about the distance from Vancouver to Ottawa. Laid in an environmentally-friendly manner on the ocean floor, it will be one of the longest coastal subsea networks in the world.

More on today's announcement can be reviewed here.

To learn more about the Connected Coast project see their website here.

Further notes on CityWest can be explored through our archive page.

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