Step 1 - Design & Permitting
Estimated timeframe for Design & Permitting: 2-5 months; Depending on size and permitting required - it can take many months to complete and get approval.
CityWest's projects and construction teams begin planning and permitting for the upcoming build.
Once it's been determined that CityWest will be expanding into a new community, our project and construction teams begin to take action. Our teams review the proposed project boundaries and then they go onsite to get measurements, observations, and even photos to create drawings so that they can make a plan for the fibre-optic build. The plans are then submitted to municipal and/or regional authorities for approval.
Revisions may be required. Also note that in special circumstances a fibre build can take place on existing telephone/hydro poles in the community.
Step 2 - Civil Construction
Estimated timeframe for Civil Construction: 3-6 months.
With approved permits, teams begin constructing your community's necessary infrastructure for fibre-optics. An important goal in this step is to identify and locate all utilities (such as natural gas and hydro). Please note that it is normal to temporarily see construction materials in a semi-completed state during this phase. For example, orange conduit may be visibly sticking out of the ground, or construction materials may be placed in a location strategically to help our team complete the project as efficiently as possible
Step 3 - Fibre Optic Cable Installation
Estimated timeframe for Fibre-Optic Cable Installation: 2-3 months.
Our crews will begin laying fibre-optic cables along the roads inside the buried conduit throughout the community.
When the conduit and service vaults have finished being placed, we will then schedule the next crew to complete the fibre-optic cable installation. We use a method called “jetting,” (which uses a combination of compressed air & mechanical force) until all designed cables have been installed in the service vaults.
Step 4 - Fibre Optic Cable Splicing
Estimated timeframe for Fibre Optic Cable Splicing: 2-3 months.
Now that the conduit and fibre-optic cables are in the ground, they will be connected or "spliced" to our main fibre network
After the fibre optic cables have been successfully installed in all the conduit and service vaults as per our design team’s specification, they will need to be fusion-spliced together with specialized equipment. This portion of the build will be completed by experienced members of our team that have thousands of hours splicing to ensure that you have the best possible physical connection to our backbone fibre-optic network.
Step 5 - Customer Sign-Up
Estimated timeframe for Customer Sign-Up: 2-3 months.
At this stage, residents and businesses can begin signing up for CityWest services ahead of our launch. You might see our sales team in your community to sign up customers. You will also be able to sign up online here.
When signing up for CityWest services, you can get an agreement through our website or by calling a Customer Service Representative at 1-800-442-8664. Once we have your order, we can then begin doing the necessary work on the outside of your residence.
The civil construction team will place a flowerpot- which is an industry term we use for a buried access hatch, at your property line. It is mandatory that everyone gets one of these flowerpots for service. Our goal is to treat your property as if it were our own, that means we will leave it as we found it! When all of the flowerpots have been placed, our local team comes to pull the drop from the flowerpot to the outside of the house. Then we can proceed to set up an in home installation appointment.
Step 6 - In-Home Fibre Installation
Estimated timeframe for In-Home Fibre Installation: 2-4 months.
After signing up for services, you'll receive a fibre-optic drop connection to the outside of your home. Our scheduling team will then reach out to book your in-home installation appointment.
Once construction of infrastructure has been completed and fiber optic cable has been placed and spliced (In most cases) CityWest will begin pre-installing equipment which will help ensure that once the backbone fiber has continuity to your location, you will be among the first subscribers in your community to be activated with the services you have been waiting for.
The In-Home Fibre Installation consists of the following steps.
1. A CityWest customer service representative will reach out to you to book an appointment and set a date for a technician to do your in-home fibre installation.
2. On the date of your scheduled appointment, a technician will call you from a private number (if they have adequate cellular coverage) before proceeding to your residence to complete the installation of a fiber optic outlet, jack, and equipment.
Step 7 - Backbone & Connected Coast
*This step only applies to certain communities.
Once the civil and fibre-to-the-home construction is completed, the network is tied into the Connected Coast project, giving you a fully fibre-optic connection from our network to your property.
Step 8 - Services Go Live
Our network is activated and live, connecting you to CityWest fibre-optic Internet, TV, and phone services.Our network is activated and live, connecting you to CityWest fibre-optic Internet, TV, and phone services.
City West management meets with the Hornby Denman Internet Committee monthly to update our communities on the status of the project. As civil construction commences and the community has questions, these are put forward and answered. Community updates follow.
Thank you to City West for being an exemplary, communicative partner while bringing high speed internet to the Islands.
Part of people's motivation in completing their "drop-in" application form is in knowing what they will receive as a customer. City West has company wide pricing. Keeping it affordable for coastal communities.
OCTOBER ’21: Video explaining the installation process for “the drop”, which goes from the main road fibre optic cable, UNDERGROUND to the premise.
CityWest is on track for even more expansion into the future, thanks to Provincial funding, massive community support, and the dedicated work of the company’s 80 employees.
Last week, B.C.’s Ministry of Citizens’ Services announced $5.64 million in funding for improved Internet services on Denman and Hornby Islands, naming CityWest as the service provider who will use the funds to build and operate the network.
“Upgrading the networks on Hornby and Denman will boost the performance of Internet services and prepare the islands to be connected to the high-performance Connected Coast network,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services, in the government press release.
The announcement fits with CityWest’s mission to improve Internet connectivity in underserved rural and remote communities. Over the last few months, CityWest has also announced its intention to expand into Vanderhoof, Cortes Island, Bella Coola, Bamfield, Zeballos, Gold River, and Tahsis.
And now, the company is continuing its expansion in serving Denman and Hornby Islands.
“For many years Denman and Hornby Islanders have had some of the worst Internet in our region. Residents clearly asked for a solution, and I am happy that with this major Provincial grant opportunity we may be able to provide fibre optic internet to every home on the islands at an affordable cost,” said Daniel Arbour, a Director with the Comox Valley Regional District. “In the next weeks and months the CVRD will engage with residents towards a referendum this fall for the community’s 10 per cent share of the project funding.”
Arbour’s comments were echoed by others on the islands, who have long sought an improved Internet solution for residents and businesses.
“This is great news for everyone on the islands,” said Karen Ross, the Coordinator for the Hornby Denman Internet Committee. “We held extensive community consultations on the islands, and we received overwhelming support for this application. The principals of universality, affordability and future proofed technology are foundational to City West’s successful application. We encourage residents to sign up for a drop to their premises through the CityWest website, in order for design and engineering to commence as soon as possible.”
CityWest will be able to serve these new customers by connecting their communities to the Connect Coast network, an undersea cable project that will bring backbone bandwidth to 139 rural and remoted coastal communities along the BC coast, as well as around Vancouver Island. The Connected Coast project is co-managed by CityWest and the Strathcona Regional District.
“The announcement on Denman and Hornby Islands expands our service area greatly, and it shows how hungry people are for great Internet and amazing customer service,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important these services are to people living in rural and remote communities, and we’re grateful for the government’s support to help us build these essential networks.”
All projects are currently in their beginning phases. Over the coming months, CityWest will be releasing more information on when construction will start.
For more information, please contact Chris Armstrong, VP Sales & Marketing at CityWest: 250-624-1499 or 250-624-7006, or email email@example.com.
CityWest is proud to provide a superior customer experience to our customers across B.C., who subscribe to Internet, TV, and phone services. For more information on the company, please visit www.citywest.ca
Fibre-to-Home Season Two: CityWest to the Rescue
The chronic issue of inadequate internet on Hornby and Denman islands has taken an interesting and hopeful turn. On Wednesday, February 17th, a new proposal to get fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), was presented at an on-line public meeting by the partners in the BC Connected Coast Project, the Strathcona Regional District and CityWest Cable and Telephone Corporation. The meeting was attended mainly by those on Hornby and Denman who have been actively involved in the internet connectivity issue, and by the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD). A recording of it is available to all at www.hornbydenmaninternet.com.
The Connected Coast project will deliver a new fibre-optic capacity to our islands. This $45 Million endeavour will ultimately serve about 160 remote communities, involving 13 Regional Districts and 44 First Nations. It is a partnership of the Strathcona Regional District (headquartered in Campbell River) and CityWest (the City of Prince Rupert’s 100-year old telephone company, now morphed into a full digital entertainment, internet and telecom company), who obtained financing from the federal and provincial governments. This “backbone” project will bring undersea fibre-optic cable from Vancouver across the Salish Sea, through Lambert Channel and on to Haida Gwaii. CVRD has agreed to pay $142,000 to obtain Connected Coast landings beside our ferry terminals at Gravelly Bay and Shingle Spit.
The remarkable news from this public meeting is a proposal by CityWest to work with the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) to bring “last mile” fibre service to our island homes. If the CityWest plan makes it through the funding and permitting process, 95% of our homes could receive dedicated fibre that delivers internet speeds of 1,000 Mbps (megabits per second), the highest speed available today. This would be far in excess of the federal government’s national service standard of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload. Islanders would not have to pay for the hookup to their property, even if they decide to subscribe after the main install is over. CityWest would sell us its service at the same subscription charges it applies elsewhere on its network. The internet costs from $50 to $140 a month depending on the service bundle. A typical bundle of internet, plus 300-channel television and telephone with 500 LD minutes , now starts at $93.46 per month. The President of CityWest, Stefan Woloszyn, outlined an optimistic schedule that could see installation on our islands begin next winter.
Fibre, Woloszyn pointed out, has the longest life-expectancy and greatest capacity of any technology available, today and into the foreseeable future. It is not only physically rugged, but its capacity will continue to expand as technology advances. Unlike satellite-based technologies, there are no problems with line-of-sight such as trees or hills, and no issues with latency (the ability to deliver service in real time such as Zoom calls). One might add that with fibre installation, internet consumers won’t get different speeds depending on where they live - it will provide a dedicated, high speed service to every premise served. Trustee David Critchley pointed out that after Covid has compelled everyone to meet online, it is unlikely that people will go back to the inconvenience of physical meetings. David Leitch, Chief Administrative Officer of Strathcona Regional District (SRD), cautioned that islanders will need to subscribe for the service in significant numbers to make these “last mile” connections feasible for CityWest. The numbers required are difficult to estimate until final build budgets are done.
Great news, but how is all this going to happen? When HICEEC and the DIRA’s Internet Committee first started looking for better internet, the plan was to partner with Telus. Ultimately Telus backed out. Other investors and Internet Service Providers were solicited, to no avail. Also considered was creating an island-owned internet project, but this was abandoned in July of 2020 by the Denman Internet Committee because of the business risk of competition from Telus and others. HICEEC continued to present our problems to CVRD and others for a solution, and with the support of CVRD, the CityWest proposition has developed. CityWest has indicated its confidence that the service it proposes to provide, and the business model it follows, would withstand competition from other telecoms. With the new opportunity, key members of the former Denman committee have recommitted their support.
The new plan would look for federal support from the Universal Broadband Fund and for BC support from its Connect to Innovate program to raise 90% of the total costs of the project. It will be critical to the success of this venture that it obtains an additional, critical 10% from the community. Thanks to Director Daniel Arbour and support from other directors, CVRD staff is now working on a report concerning the opportunities available, and whether it can be that critical “community” funder for “last mile” service to the Islands.
On the recorded call, CityWest’s Stefan Woloszyn described the possibility that if the CVRD funds the 10% community contribution, and if the project proceeds, 20% of net earnings might go to the community. Woloszyn pointed out that CItyWest is a public utility, aiming to provide community service rather than the profitability focus of big telecoms. Maybe a bit of “blue skying” but another refreshingly positive aspect of the new proposal.
The project faces many hoops to be jumped through. The first is getting Hornby and Denman officially included in the Connected Coast project, and this application, backed by CVRD support, is already in the approval process. The permitting process must deal with many interests and agencies such as the Coast Guard and the concerns of numerous First Nations. Even so, the contract to install the cable has been let, and it is anticipated that it will be laid this summer.
The second major hoop will be to succeed in an application, most likely made by CVRD with the support of the Strathcona Regional District and City West, for financial support by the Universal Broadband Fund (application deadline March 15th). During the period when this application is being evaluated, citizens of the Islands will be asked to write letters and lobby for support of this proposition. Another hoop will be the development and approval at CVRD of joint venture partnerships for this project, and how that can be accomplished.
Times are changing in the poor internet situation of Denman and Hornby Islands. Our needs for good internet are growing daily. Every day we are learning of different options: Telus improvements; wireless alternatives; new satellite opportunities; and others. None compare with this CityWest proposal for affordable, inclusive, dedicated to each home, pure fibre service. There are lots of obstacles to be overcome in order to achieve this, but we now have a valuable, attainable goal in our sights. This is a real opportunity for us!
FEBRUARY 17, 2021 INTERNET PANEL DISCUSSION.
· Stefan Wolozsyn, C.E.O. of City West Telecom
· David Leitch, C.A.O. of the Strathcona Regional District
· Paul Daniell, Industry consultant
· Moderated by Karen Ross, Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation, on behalf of the Hornby Denman Internet Working Group