Telus celebrated the completion of its fibre build to the North Island with an event at the Ugwamalis Big House in Fort Rupert July 20.
Telus and government officials “were all invited to take part in the ceremony and were taught a dance to perform,” said Liz Sauvé, Telus Media Relations.
“It was wonderful,” Sauvé said.
The fibre runs 150 kilometres along the highway from Woss to Port McNeill connecting numerous communities to high-speed Internet – some for the first time.
The line runs through part of the traditional territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations from the Sayward Junction to Port McNeill, The new infrastructure connects communities including Woss Lake, Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Alert Bay, Port Alice, Holberg, Quatsino, Winter Harbour, Tahsis, Zeballos, Hesquiaht, Kingcome Inlet, Hope Island, Fort Rupert and Dead Point on Harbledown Island.
“Completing this fibre build has been an accomplishment on a number of levels. We’ve built strong relationships with the Kwakiutl Band Council, other First Nations and local communities, developed an environmentally sustainable way to install 150 kilometres of fibre optic cable along the highway, and unleashed significant possibilities for the region’s 11,000 residents, local businesses, healthcare facilities, and schools,” said Ray Lawson, general manager for Vancouver Island. “This investment is bringing high-speed Internet to some communities for the first time, while enabling new approaches in healthcare, education, business and home entertainment on the North Island for years to come,” Lawson said.
“Whether we are connecting people by improving the safety of our provincial highways or by expanding our digital networks, these important investments will improve access for local residents to services and resources,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amrik Virk.
“This commitment by TELUS to grow B.C.’s digital infrastructure means North Island communities can better compete in the global marketplace,” Virk said
“Residents, businesses, healthcare facilities and schools are now able to take advantage of dramatically faster, higher-capacity Internet and data connections,” said Sauvé.
“This build was a major undertaking and took years of planning and work.”
“The build also marks a first in Canadian history, as we were granted permission to place the fibre optic cable in narrow, but deep trenches alongside the highway, eliminating the need for road-side logging,” Sauvé said.
“We estimate we saved hundreds of thousands of trees because safety regulations require trees within 50 metres of the highway be removed if lines are strung aerially on poles.”