Islanders will enjoy the same access as most other British Columbians to high speed broadband internet by mid-November, says Gwaii Trust chair Miles Richardson, after the Gwaii Trust reached an agreement with Telus on Monday (Sept. 18).
The agreement came after five years of work by Gwaii Trust directors to bring broadband to the islands, he said.
“It was a tough haul,” Mr. Richardson said. “The Gwaii Trust board has been very committed to this process, and now it’s done.”
He said the system should be up and running by Oct. 31, and that islanders should be able to have high-speed internet hooked up by the middle of November.
Mr. Richardson said the directors were “very happy” to have reached the agreement, adding that there were some challenging negotiations which could have fallen apart at the last minute.
The islands will be connected to the mainland by the world’s longest over-water radio internet transmission. Telus is spending $1.3-million to build a series of high-capacity mountain-top data transmitters to Mount Hayes near Prince Rupert, from which high speed internet service will then beam 115 kilometres over water to a station at Masset. Service will flow from the station to other points on the islands via fibre optic cables.
Once it’s up and running, the network will be owned and operated by the GwaiiTel Society, which will represent the seven islands communities of Old Massett, Masset, Port Clements, Tlell, Skidegate, Queen Charlotte and Sandspit.
Mr. Richardson said the exact make up of the GwaiiTel Society has not yet been determined, but the communities are working on it.
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