The small, remote village of Houpsitas will soon see improved internet thanks to the provincial government’s investments in improving high-speed service to rural communities in the province.
In a statement made Nov. 8, the Ministry of Citizens' Services announced that faster internet will be coming to 10 Indigenous, rural, remote island communities, including Kyuquot.
Accessible only by boat or float plane, Houpsitas, the main reserve for Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k'tles7et'h' citizens, has a population of about 400 with little to no cell phone coverage. According to FindInternet.ca, residents and businesses have access to cable, DSL or wireless internet services for prices ranging from $40 to $130 per month based on the package selected.
Improved internet service means residents can look forward to high-speed broadband internet unlocking better, faster access to digital services and opportunities.
"Reliable, high-speed internet access for rural, remote and Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands will further bridge the digital divide and bring British Columbia closer to connecting every community in B.C. with high-speed internet access by 2027," said Lisa Beare, minister of Citizens' Services.
According a government press release, provincial investments of as much as $3.8 million for high-speed connectivity expansions will build new last-mile fibre-to-the-home connectivity infrastructure, providing access to broadband internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. This means access to faster, more reliable broadband internet.
People in Telegraph Cove, Holberg, Houpsitas 6 of the Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k'tles7et'h' First Nation, and Winter Harbour on northern Vancouver Island, as well as the communities of Van Anda on Texada Island, Galiano Island and Saturna Island, will benefit from faster internet.
Kevin Jules, Legislative Vice Chief, Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k:tles7et'h' First Nations (KCFN) and a board member for the Strathcona Regional District, said his community looks forward to closing the digital divide.
“Reliable high-speed internet will improve our ability to participate in online learning and health care and allow us to easily connect with family living elsewhere. This is a huge step forward and will enable our community to take advantage of new opportunities to build and grow,” he stated in a press release.
"We all know that internet is no longer a luxury in this day and age - it's a necessity. Access to fast, reliable internet helps rural Canadians by levelling the playing field to access essential services, like health care and education, participate in the digital economy, or simply connect with loved ones," said Gudie Hutchings, federal minister of Rural Economic Development.