Better internet within weeks: GwaiiTel

  • Oct. 4, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Islanders should be enjoying improved internet by mid-October, says Masset mayor Andrew Merilees, the secretary-treasurer of the non-profit broadband provider GwaiiTel. GwaiiTel has been working since last year on a radio link between Old Massett and Prince Rupert that will vastly expand the bandwidth available on Haida Gwaii. The project was delayed last year, in part by the early onset of winter, but resumed this summer and is now almost complete. “Our administrator is on the ground now in Old Massett, inspecting the work done on the tower there and is expected to move to Mt. Hays later in the week to do the same,” Mr. Merilees told the Observer Monday. “Alcatel radio crews will be arriving in Prince Rupert next week to start their work on Mount Hays, so everything looks promising for meeting the target of radios operational by October 8-9.” GwaiiTel administrator Paul Daniell said the radio link should be up and running by the end of next week. The next step will be live tests. Mr. Merilees said a $250,000 grant from the Gwaii Trust, approved in September, will ensure that the project won’t have any more delays. Last year’s setbacks slowed the project down and made it more expensive. The total cost is around $2.2-million, with other funding coming from provincial and federal agencies. “We are extremely appreciative to Gwaii Trust for their foresight and recognition of the importance of this upgrade to the internet services on Haida Gwaii,” Mr. Merilees said.