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High-speed internet access now available in Lach Klan

June 26, 2024 at 9:48 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People in the village of Lach Klan, also known as Kitkatla, now have reliable high-speed internet access, unlocking better, faster access to digital services and opportunities.

“High-speed internet service is a game-changer for people living and working in rural and remote areas like Lach Klan, enabling people to learn and work from the comfort of their home communities,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast and Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health. “I’m excited for people in Lach Klan to participate in the digital economy more fully and enjoy the many digital opportunities and services connectivity brings.”

More than 140 households in the village of Lach Klan on Dolphin Island of the Gitxaala Nation now have connectivity infrastructure enabling access to high-speed broadband internet services, built and operated by service provider CityWest. The project leverages transport capacity provided by the Connected Coast network.

“High-speed internet access in Lach Klan marks a significant advancement for our community, enabling people to access essential services, such as education and health care, as well as business opportunities without having to leave Kitkala,” said Linda Innes, Gitxaala Nation Chief Councillor. “This connectivity will enhance our capacity to preserve our past, share our future and thrive in a digital world.”

The Government of British Columbia has invested up to $148,800 through the Connecting British Columbia program administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust. The Government of Canada has invested up to $386,900 through the federal Universal Broadband Fund. CityWest has contributed approximately $200,700.

“Ensuring anyone, anywhere in B.C. can have access to quality high-speed internet services is a priority for us, and that’s why we are committed to every household having access to high-speed internet by 2027,” said George Chow, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “With the completion of this project, people in Lach Klan now have the same level of access to digital services and opportunities as urban centres.”

This project is part of the Province’s commitment to Coastal First Nations to ensure high-speed internet access for communities throughout the Central Coast and North Coast regions and Haida Gwaii. Access to high-speed internet supports world-renowned stewardship programs, such as the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, who protect and manage water, land and air in the region. Connectivity ensures the delivery of digital training and online health-care solutions and supports Indigenous-led language and cultural-revitalization programs.

“As communities along the Central, North Coast and Haida Gwaii get connected through high-speed internet and included in B.C.’s ever-growing digital economy, there is a wealth of cultural wisdom, knowledge and world-renowned stewardship leadership to showcase to the world,” said Christine Smith-Martin, CEO, Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative. “Connectivity is foundational to our sovereignty and presents unprecedented opportunities for our future generations.” 

The Province’s investment is part of StrongerBC: Good Lives in Strong Communities, its vision outlining investments to help build a brighter future for rural communities and the people who call them home. Increasing connectivity also supports Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Industrial Future.

In March 2022, the governments of British Columbia and Canada announced a partnership to invest up to $830 million to expand high-speed internet services. B.C.’s commitment is to connect all remaining under-served households in B.C. by 2027. The Connecting British Columbia and Connecting Communities BC funding programs support projects to expand high-speed internet access to rural and remote areas of the province. The plan to connect all households will level the playing field for British Columbians, ensuring better access to services and economic opportunities for every community.

Quotes:

Stefan Woloszyn, chief executive officer, CityWest

“CityWest is deeply rooted in northern B.C., and we are proud to deliver services to another community in the North. This project will not just provide internet, it will enrich lives, foster inclusion, and create countless opportunities to drive positive change. We are honoured to partner with the Gitxaała Nation to deliver services in their community.”

Joel McKay, chief executive officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust –

“The Province of B.C.’s commitment to ensuring rural and remote communities have access to high-speed internet is evident with the project in Lach Klan. Household by household and community by community, the Connecting BC program is providing all British Columbians with easy access to family, friends, education, medical appointments and more.”

Learn More:

To learn more about Connectivity in B.C., visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc

To learn more about Connecting Communities BC, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc/20601

To learn more about the Coastal First Nations – Coastal Guardian Watchmen program, visit: Coastal Guardian Watchmen – Coastal First Nations (coastalfirstnations.ca)

To learn more about StrongerBC: Good lives in Strong Communities, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Good-Lives-Strong-Communities-2023.pdf

To learn more about StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Plan, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/economic-plan/

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