[This story originally appeared on The North Coast Review, a blog based in Prince Rupert that contains “items of interest to those living on the North Coast of BC.”]
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach is back in Ottawa this week, using his time in the House of Commons to call attention to some key issues of note for the Northwest and Haida Gwaii.
For one of his first talking points of the week, the MP has raised the prospect of Haida Gwaii residents losing internet services, particularly in the Tlell area.
In just over two months, the only service provider to the Tlell is set to shut down its operations, something which will send the residents a few decades back in time, to an era when the Internet was but a rumour of things to come.
“These residents need to run businesses, attend school, book medical appointments, bank online and stay connected with their families, all over the Internet. This pandemic has shown us that broadband internet access is far from a luxury, it’s essential for daily life,” Bachrach said.
Specifically, Bachrach was seeking some guidance as to what action the federal government has planned to ensure that residents of Tlell and other rural areas continue to have access to the internet.
Mr. Bachrach and residents of Haida Gwaii didn’t exactly get a full answer to the question, with Parliamentary Secretary Gudie Hutchings taking the inquiry on behalf of the Government. She mostly recited the recent themes of the Liberal throne speech and promises of accelerating the plan to increase high speed access to rural Canada.
Mr. Bachrach reviews the current situation for Tlell through his Facebook page here.
The MP has also submitted a wider overview on the theme of rural connections through a piece he provided for the politics-focused news service the Hill Times; you can read his notes on the theme here.
Earlier this month CityWest announced that its somewhat delayed Coastal Connection project is now back in motion. The project is a joint venture with Strathcona Regional District on Vancouver Island that will deliver an extensive broadband infrastructure network to Haida Gwaii, the Central Coast and North and Central Vancouver Island.
It also will provide for a second backbone of internet connectivity for the Prince Rupert area and all of Northwest British Columbia.