Connecting Haida Gwaii to the World

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L-R: Gaahlaay, Donald Duffy Edgars; OMVC Chief Councillor, Berry Wijdeven; Gwaii Trust director, Jeffrey Lavoie; Gwaii Communications, Honorable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Chima Nkemdirim, VP Government Relations Shaw Communications, Joseph Lavoie, Gwaii Communications, Gaagwiis, Ganaay Billy Yovanovich; Chief Councillor Skidegate Band Council. Photo: Haida Laas/Rhonda Lee McIsaac

Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, HlGaagilda Representative the Council of the Haida Nation welcomed The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, who was on Haida Gwaii announced funding for projects that benefit Indigenous Peoples and businesses across Western Canada.

Minister Bains made the special announcement at the Haida Heritage Centre in HlGaagilda, Haida Gwaii regarding high-speed Internet service for Canadians living in rural and remote communities. Through the Connect to Innovate program an investment of 500 million dollars by 2021 will be made.

“Access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury; it’s essential. High-speed Internet services are basic tools that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of their postal code. Canadians need these services to do business and build stronger communities. The Government of Canada recognizes that innovation takes pace everywhere in Canada, both in cities and rural areas. Thanks to our Connect to Innovate program, Canadians will be better able to seize the opportunities offered by the digital economy.”

Honourable Jinny Sims, British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services, sent a video announcement Today’s funding is in addition to the $45.4-million investment in high-speed Internet for coastal British Columbia announced on January 17, 2018, for a total investment of $83.6 million.

“Regardless of where they live in British Columbia, people should have access to the same high-speed Internet as that available in major urban centres like Vancouver or Victoria. This is fundamental to how all people access high-quality health care, emergency services, education and the global economy. This partnership is another example of our commitment to investing in the people of this province—urban, rural and Indigenous—creating a better future for all British Columbians” states British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services.

Gwaii Communications received $3.88 million from the federal government and $400,000 from the Government of British Columbia for a new fibre backbone plus last-mile project to connect a total of 2 remote communities, 16 institutions and approximately 341 underserved households in Haida Gwaii.

Through the federal Connect to Innovate program, and with funding from Northern Development Initiative Trust and Gwaii Trust, Gwaii Communications is proud to announce last mile fibre funding to six areas of Haida Gwaii. The residents of Sandspit, Miller Creek, Lawn Hill, Tlell, Port Clements, and Tow Hill will benefit from this funding which will provide last mile fiber to most households in these areas. This funding will provide a 4.94 million dollar fibre-optic network to provide world class internet.

1 Comment

Stephany Pryce · November 3, 2018 at 7:42 am

I live in a pocket area that provides me with slower than dial up internet 95% of the time. Most people that live in my area of Skidegate, Oceanview Subdivision are subject to the same issues. This has been an ongoing issue since I signed up years ago with Gwaii Communications. There are no options for faster internet with another company. I expect this will not improve without thousands of dollars to provide for the costs incurred to connect to the fibre line on the highway which is a fair distance away. I am not optimistic.

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