B.C. to invest more than $5 million for internet upgrades to Denman, Hornby islands

B.C. to invest more than $5 million for internet upgrades to Denman, Hornby islands

Two small communities off Vancouver Island will be surfing the web faster this fall, according to the province.

B.C. will be investing more than $5 million through the Connecting British Columbia program to provide internet upgrades to Hornby Island and Denman Island, the province announced Thursday.

They say CityWest — a telecommunications company based out of Prince Rupert — will receive up to $3.26 million for upgrades on Denman Island and up to $2.38 million for work on Hornby Island.

B.C. says more than 1,350 households will see improvements with the projects.

Hornby and Denman Community Health Care society executive director Lori Nawrot says the upgrades will help improve their employees’ work environment.

“While in-person connections are at the heart of our home support, outreach and family support services, we rely on the internet to make this work possible,” said Nawrot in the announcement. “Our staff often work in isolation in empty or marginal pockets of internet and cellular reception. Improved service will make our jobs safer and expand our options for online training and certification, crucial for the recruitment of new staff.”

The funding will also benefit the local economic and educational opportunities, according to deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the Vancouver Island Regional Library Anne O’Shea.

“Better bandwidth opens possibilities for people including economic and educational opportunities, remote work, the ability to stay connected with family and friends, and so much more,” said O’Shea. “Improved internet will enhance our ability to deliver these services to Hornby Island and the remote communities in our 39-branch co-operative library system.”

The project is expected to be completed in late fall, the province said in an interview with CHEK News Thursday.

Connected Coast is a $45.4 million investment in coastal connectivity, according to the province. CityWest has partnered with Strathcona Regional District to create a sub-sea fibre-optic network for the island coast.

READ MORE: Remote island communities to benefit from connectivity investments for faster, more reliable internet

Justin WaddellJustin Waddell

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