An old laptop is perched on a stoop outdoors. It has the word "WiFi" written on the screen in white paint.
Photo Credit: Emmet Connolly | Flickr

Finally! High-Speed Internet is Coming to NorthIsle

No more spotty coverage

This investment means more of us are connected more of the time

Video gamers rejoice! High-speed internet is coming to the entire coast, even its most rural northern areas.

Gamers won’t be the only ones celebrating. We’ve had a few years of remote work, school, and Zoom meetings. We know a good internet connection can make or break opportunities.

Slow or no internet affects folks in all rural communities. But it’s especially felt in First Nations Reserves, which are often the last to get new infrastructure.

Christine Smith-Martin is the CEO of Coastal First Nations. “The digital divide has long been an obstacle that hindered our communities from taking full advantage of new opportunities to improve our well-being—culturally, socially or environmentally,” she said in a release.

“The Connected Coast will spur innovation and create new opportunities for local businesses to thrive in the digital economy and give our young people a chance to succeed while staying close to home.”

Nuu-chah-nulth communities like Kyuquot, Ehatis, Hot Springs Cove, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht and Tla-o-qui-aht reserves are just a few of the areas without any good internet.

BC is investing to make sure these areas will have high-speed internet.

“Bridging the digital divide is a critical part of British Columbia’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA/Declaration Act) and our commitment to reconciliation and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),” the Ministry of Citizens’ Services said in a statement.

A ship started laying undersea cables along BC’s coast last year. They’ve hooked up Haida Gwaii and parts of the northern coast. The latest round of cable laying started in late July off Gabriola, and it’ll head up to Campbell River and the Discovery Islands over the next few weeks.

The Connected Coast project will bring high-speed internet to about 139 rural and remote communities, including 48 First Nations communities. It’ll take more than 3,000 km of fibre optic cable to pull it off.

So far, the project has hooked up 21 landing sites.

Gudie Hutchings is the Federal Minister of Rural Economic Development. “The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring all Canadians are connected, including those living in rural and remote communities,” she said in a release.

“We are pleased to partner with the Province of British Columbia to bring high-speed internet to…ensure that every nook and cranny of British Columbia is connected.”

The province’s investment is part of the StrongerBC initiative.