Internet customers frustrations are mounting over the time frame it is taking for re-connectivity in Haida Gwaii after the infrastructure, located on Mt. Hayes, was damaged by inclement weather on Jan. 31. (File photo)

Island internet outage

Haida Gwaii customers are without internet

The GwaiiTel website lists many comments left by frustrated customers about the lack of internet services on Haida Gwaii and the time repairs are taking for re-connectivity.

Haida Gwaii lost all internet communications on Jan. 31 due to a technical issue with the radio tower. As of 5 p.m. on Feb. 3, residents were still with out internet services. GwaiiCom, the internet service provider, could not offer an estimated time frame of repair.

READ MORE: $50 million available for rural B.C. high-speed internet projects

The broad band radio tower which provides internet to Haida Gwaii is located on Mt. Hayes near Prince Rupert. Inclement weather conditions caused significant damage to the radio link infrastructure. GwaiiTel owns the internet infrastructure which provides service to GwaiiCom.

“Crews got up there and then had to send for a specialized technical crew who arrived last night (Feb. 3),” GwaiiCom said.

Temporary repairs are being completed to hopefully provide limited service to customers. Everything is functional on Haida Gwaii, the problems originates at the tower, said GwaiiCom.

“There are specialized tradespeople on site. We are a small no-profit with limited industry pull. It was hard for us to get them (service technicians) to drop what they were doing and come to the rescue. Thankfully we leaned on Telus and they used their influence to help us,” the GwaiiTel website said in a response to one frustrated customer.

READ MORE: Telus to take charge of TV and internet on Haida Gwaii following acquisition of Gwaii Communications

“Snow conditions at the site are a complicating factor,” Evan Putterill, chairman of GwaiiTel said. “At this point we are estimating that the issue will not be resolved for a minimum of 48 hours depending on the extent of the damage.”

The island wide outage has been investigated by technicians from GwaiiTel, with assistance from GwaiiCom, CityWest, Distributel, and Nokia/Alcatel Lucent.

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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