Dease Lake, B.C. / May 31, 2022 – Tahltan Communications – a partnership between Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC) and CityWest Cable and Telephone Corporation – has today officially begun construction to provide high speed telecommunications services over fibre optics into Tahltan Territory. Tahltan Communications is building over 200 kilometers of new fibre optic cable in unison with fibre optic strands that are part of the BC Hydro Northwest Transmission Line (NTL). Tahltan Communications will provide high speed Gigabit connectivity to the communities of Iskut and Dease Lake by early 2023. This $13-million project will also provide high speed fibre optic based telecommunication services to the many small, medium and large industrial businesses in Tahltan Territory.
This state-of-the-art fibre-optic network will bring significant benefits to Tahltan Territory, improving the delivery of healthcare, safety, education, and social services and fostering economic development, environmental protection, and infrastructure development.
TNDC applied for funding though the Government of Canada’s Connect to Innovate Program and British Columbia’s Connecting B.C. program. This project has been supported through funding from the federal and provincial governments. Funding for the project was announced July 2, 2019.
Stefan Woloszyn, Chief Executive Officer, CityWest
“We have been working with the Tahltan nation for the last year and a half, as we have planned and built out our partnership network and submitted plans to develop connectivity to all of their communities and strategic partners. What we have come to realize in this process is that we have the same set of primary values, starting with a focus on creating benefits first and foremost. As a social enterprise, we are excited about our future together, and we are grateful to the province and the federal government for their support.”
Paul Gruner, Chief Executive Officer, Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC)
“Rural communities throughout Canada continue to go without fast and reliable internet connectivity; that is about to change in Tahltan Territory, which is a region that accounts for 11% of British Columbia. TNDC’s partnership with CityWest is a game changer and will deliver on our key strategic priority to become a telecommunication provider of high-speed internet connectivity to Tahltan communities and those doing business in Tahltan Territory. Soon high-speed connectivity will be available, and I cannot be more excited for those who live and work in the region.”
Honourable Lisa Beare, Provincial Minister of Citizens’ Services
“Tahltan Territory is one of British Columbia’s northernmost regions and for too long has had to deal with unreliable internet speeds and variable access depending on location. Our commitment as government is to ensure all households in B.C. are connected to high-speed internet by 2027. With projects like this one we are one step closer to meeting that goal.”
Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Federal Minister of Rural Economic Development
“We need to close the connectivity gap and ensure that every nook and cranny of British Columbia has access to reliable high-speed Internet. The Government of Canada is pleased to invest $9.6 million via the Connect to Innovate program to connect 12 communities, mainly within the Tahltan Nation. Investments like these help create jobs, improve access to health care and online learning services, enhance safety and keep us connected to our loved ones. The Government of Canada will continue to invest to help achieve our national target of connecting 98% of Canadians by 2026 and 100% by 2030.”
Photos from the plow starting up on H37 north of Kitwanga