Construction is underway on Connected Coast, an undersea cable project bringing high-speed Internet access to hundreds of remote and rural communities, along the B.C. Coast and around Vancouver Island.
In all, 139 communities will benefit, including 48 Indigenous communities.
The commencement of the $45.4 million project, funded by the federal and provincial governments, was celebrated in Campbell River on Friday, Oct. 29.
“Momentum is building,” said Brad Unger, chair, Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board.
“Rural and remote communities will soon have the same digital opportunities as urban centres. We are steps closer to benefiting from improved connectivity.”
The SRD is co-managing Connected Coast with CityWest. The joint venture was first launched in 2018 and later finalized in early-2020, with main contractor, Baylink Networks, announced last September.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how this huge fibre-optic line will benefit the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people who live along its route,” said CityWest CEO, Stefan Woloszyn.
Today, the cable stretches over 3,400 kilometres, streaming hundreds of gigabytes every second once operational. According to a SRD release, it’s actually one of the longest coastal subsea networks in the world.
CanPac Valour, the vessel that will be laying the cable, is currently docked in Campbell River being outfitted for its long journey.
B.C.’s Minister of Citizens’ Services, Lisa Beare, said the Connected Coast project comes at a vital time, as the COVID-19 pandemic highlights “the importance of quality, high-speed Internet to learn, do business, stay healthy, access services and keep in touch with loved ones.”
“Through Connected Coast, people and businesses in remote and underserved communities along B.C.’s coast can stay connected and participate in economic opportunities — faster,” Beare added.
Learn more about the Connected Coast project at: www.connectedcoast.ca