Light beams from a test strand of the underground fibre-optic line that the islands’ non-profit GwaiiTel Society had installed between Old Massett, Tow Hill, and Skidegate. (Haida Gwaii Observer/File photo)

Tlellagraph: An incredible shrinking world

The fibre is coming. Gwaii Communications has secured the funding necessary to roll out its rural connection project. This extension of the fibre optic cable that runs down Hwy 16 will see many additional Tlell homes directly connected to the digital spinal chord of Haida Gwaii.

This will allow us to access faster internet at, I hope, a reduced cost. It will also give us access to real cable TV, not satellite — but that might mean just local cable. I’m not sure about any of this. And given my relative ignorance, I’m going to attend the meeting on Oct. 10, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Haida House here in Tlell to get information on the project and confirm the information about property residency that Gwaii Commmunications has put together.

I will also decide whether to give them permission to connect my house. Again, I don’t know why I wouldn’t, but I’ll wait until I have all the information before my final decision. It’s just prudent. All Tlellians would be well served to attend this important meeting, where permission forms will be available.

Gwaii Communications will be hosting other community meetings the week of October 8 to 12, which are listed with updates on their Facebook event page. Check there if you are from another community and are just reading the Tlellagraph because of the spectacular writing.

As I ponder this connection on a grander scheme, I’m struck by the notion that the world is getting smaller. The truth is the population, and general connectivity, is growing and growing. A little over a decade ago, Haida Gwaii had no cellphone service whatsoever. We’d giggle when the Air Canada flight attendant announced you weren’t to use your cell phone until inside the terminal building.

I was proud we didn’t have all that chatter, but I’ve embraced the chatter as it has grown. Cellphone coverage isn’t fully complete, but (don’t tell anyone) there’s such a thing as Telus WiFi, so (if my phone isn’t on silent, which it usually is) I can actually get calls at home. If I don’t want to talk to you, I’ll still pretend I can’t get cell phone calls, though. Just kidding. Maybe.

Information is zipping around us in ways we never imagined before. News comes at us from every angle in a multitude of forms. One form that I’m told is popular with the kids, is Instagram.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… Instagram has been around for ages, but I was slow on the uptake. I only just now resurrected my dormant account, and started to play with the platform. In doing so, I hit “follow” and allowed followers that had likely requested to follow me five years ago. I thought about why “following” creeps me out, and I think it’s from walking the streets of Montreal at night as a university student. I also inadvertently requested to follow people, because I didn’t get how the buttons worked. Then I posted a cool picture of Tow Hill that I took a week ago.

“You were at Tow Hill last night?” my husband asked the following day. When I explained that was last weekend, he replied, “That’s not very ‘insta.’”

And that was when I realized Instagram is a way of sharing immediate moments — news of the instant. These moments are shared as visual snaps, with filters to convey the mood of the time.

Throw in some hashtags, cross-post to Facebook and Twitter, and that moment gets mad exposure. Too bad I still get a slightly icky feeling when I try and use hashtags, like I’m pretending to have any idea what my reality is connected to. Unless it’s a really ironic hashtag. I seem to want to use those. Must be my sense of humour. #noidea

How we know each other is changing, how we know anything. How we learn how to learn is changing. This fibre optic cable could create reliable connections between communities, allowing us to connect as it gets costlier to drive.

Send me your thoughts to and I’ll let you know if the fibre will allow me to answer at a quicker speed in the future.

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