Faster internet on the way: Telus

  • Dec. 7, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Islanders should notice faster internet service within the next two or three weeks, after Telus completes work on the radio link between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert. Shawn Hall, senior communications manager for Telus, said the upgrades should almost double the broadband capacity available here. Telus is spending several hundred thousand dollars on the improvements to the radio link, which remains the world’s longest over-the-water radio transmission. Mr. Hall said Telus is in discussions with GwaiiTel and islands leaders about how to build a possible second link, either subsea or radio. Telus installed the original link in 2006 at a of $1.3-million. This time around, the company is looking for partners who can bring money to the project, he said. Demand for bandwidth, driven mainly by video content, is increasing all over the country and Haida Gwaii is no exception, he said. “The Queen Charlottes are hardly unique in that demand for internet service has increased significantly,” he said. “Clearly, the Queen Charlotte Islands-Haida Gwaii need more internet coverage. We’re happy to look at doing a second link and we’ve been talking regularly with local officials.” However, at the same time, Haida Gwaii does present challenges because it is so sparsely populated and so geographically remote, he said. Mr. Hall also said he was “perplexed” by comments by Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha, who criticized Telus last month for not making more bandwidth available for the islands. Mr. Hall said Telus is making improvements to the radio link and is in discussions with GwaiiTel about future improvements.

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