THE HORNBY DENMAN INTERNET COMMITTEE
We are a collaborative committee, from Hornby and Denman Islands, joining forces in 2019 to find solutions for improving the internet service on the Islands.
Denman Island Residents Association (DIRA) Internet Committee:
Lead: Peter Spurr
Lead: John Wigle
Lead: Ty Runkle
Website: Sonia Murillo Paz
Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation (HICEEC):
Lead/Staff: Karen Ross
Lead/Board member: John Grayson
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
The federal government and the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) have stated that high-speed internet should be made available to all citizens, regardless of where they live.The federal government is making some money available to facilitate this.
Residents of Denman and Hornby Islands have joined together to bring high-speed internet and are applying for these grants.
This site was originally established to provide information on our work and the available programs.
Introduction to possibilities for improved internet
Pic. to the right: Green candidate, Sean Wood, Facebook posting acknowledging funding by ICET
Volume One - Connectivity Research & Public Consultation
Report prepared with funding from the Island Coastal Economic Trust and the Northern Development Initiative Trust
Prepared by Baylink Networks
Volume Two - Digital Roadmap & Implementation Plan
Report prepared with funding from the Island Coastal Economic Trust and the Northern Development Initiative Trust
Prepared by Baylink Networks
With their Digital Roadmap & Implementation Plan reports in hand, the Hornby Denman Internet Committee went on the hunt for an Internet Service Provider to champion their application for federal and provision funding, and to build the service.
Chief Administrative Officer, David Leitch at the Strathcona Regional District was instrumental in sharing a vision for British Columbians working together to "cross the digital divide".
Working with City West, an internet service provider in Prince Rupert, and the Federal and Provincial Governments, the CONNECTED COAST project was started. More on this exciting project can be found at: www.connectedcoast.ca
"It is such an advantage to be able to provide high-speed reliable internet that people and businesses can count on. For too long, rural, remote and Indigenous communities have not had reliable high-speed internet... This is a great project to help bridge that digital divide and help bridge that socioeconomic gap without connectivity."
Honourable Lisa Beare
Minister of Citizens' Services
It’s time to close the digital divide.
Refer to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map for the latest broadband data. Broadband coverage information is collected by ISED through ongoing consultation with Internet service providers, the CRTC, industry associations, provinces and territories, and other partners and stakeholders. https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/internet/internet.htm
With urging from Area A Regional Director, Daniel Arbour, the CVRD started investigating supporting the efforts of Hornby and Denman Islands, working with the Strathcona Regional District and the Connected Coast initiative.
After several years work, a referendum was held for the citizens of the Islands to authorize being taxed for a 10% share of the capital investment to bring high speed internet to the Islands. The results were unprecedented, with 94% voting in favour of the project.
At the recommendation of the local Internet committee, the contract to provide the infrastructure and services was signed between the CVRD and City West. A 20 year arrangement was solidified whereby 20% of net profits from operations of the provision of the service will be paid back to the Islands.
The Hornby Denman Internet Committee spearheaded the project.
Planning, lobbying, report writing, media articles, conference calls, meetings, billboard construction, surveys, town hall meetings, video production, etc.
Special acknowledgement to the tenacious Committee leads:
From the Denman Island Residents Association: Peter Spurr and John Wigle
From the Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation: John Grayson and Karen Ross
Without the expertise, leadership, and diligence of this small group, this project would not have happened.
Date: March, 2021
To: Honourable Josie Osborne
M.L.A. Mid Island - Pacific Rim
From: Hornby Denman Internet Working Group
John Grayson, Peter Spurr, John Wigle, Karen Ross
cc: CVRD Area A Regional Director, Daniel Arbour
Subject: Resolving the Broadband Problem that Impedes Hornby & Denman Islands’ Communities
Summary: The inadequate broadband on Hornby and Denman Islands is a serious limitation on our communities and is the source of widespread dis-satisfaction. Working in conjunction with the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) and CityWest Telecommunications of Prince Rupert, an effective, reasonably priced solution has been developed.
We have submitted an application to British Columbia’s Economic Recovery Intake program for part of the funding to implement this solution, and we need you to take the lead in securing its approval. Approving our application will result in rapid project implementation that will be a real accomplishment for the Province, and will serve as a model for your home community when, in the near future, Tofino will have a similar opportunity to improve its connectivity.
Background: The Denman and Hornby communities have been working for nearly three years to improve the appalling internet situation on our Islands.
Our joint working group secured funding from Island Coastal Economic Trust and Northern Development Initiative Trust and conducted the Digital Roadmap and Implementation Plan project. This involved an extensive process of consultation within our communities that identified the extent of the problems including: the total inadequacy of our connectivity for students; the sharp limitation of our islands as places where people can live and work remotely; the safety concerns surrounding healthcare and patient monitoring because of insufficient broadband; the overall constraint on our economic growth resulting from feeble internet; and the poor service available for the social development and entertainment of our citizens. This project also entailed employing an internet technology consultant to thoroughly examine our situation and develop a feasibility study for obtaining the necessary backhaul and a “last mile” FTTP solution. This work is documented in a two-volume, 188-page set of reports that can be seen on our website: www.hornbydenmaninternet.com. Also, a short video on this website highlights inadequacies in our situation, described in our public consultations.
A hard copy of our two-volume report, Hornby and Denman Islands’ Digital Roadmap & Implementation Plan, published in 2020, has been hand delivered to your Legislative Office in Victoria, March 22, 2021.
Project outline: The Comox Valley Regional District has authorized approx. $142,000 funding for Connected Coast (https://connectedcoast.ca) fibre optic backbone landing sites on both Hornby & Denman Islands.
Successful completion of securing the Landing Sites was the first part of our Community Proposal. The second component of our current proposal, necessary to get the Islands “future proof internet service”, is for Last Mile infrastructure. We are excited to bring an innovative proposal forward to achieve this.
Proposal: Supporting continuing engagement between the CVRD and City West Telecom, (a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Prince Rupert), to provide Last Mile fibre optic service to the premises (FTTP) on Hornby & Denman Islands. The estimated cost of construction is $7.6 million. This represents a cost savings of 25% over our 2020 initial consultant’s estimate addressing the community’s planning for fibre optic service outlined in the Digital Roadmap & Implementation Plan.
In our extensive public consultation, the residents of the Islands were resolute that they supported a land-based system, and not wireless. Fibre is a more expensive system and to push for it could jeopardize access to government funding. However, City West Telecom, our identified partner, will provide initial capital funds, to the tune of approx. $1.2 million to bridge the gap between perceived funding access and the cost of building the infrastructure that public consultation dictated.
This proposal has the CVRD investing 10%, to a maximum of $760,000 as a contribution towards the project.
The really innovative part of the proposal is the shared revenue. City West’s proposal includes partnering with the CVRD, to return 20% of the net profits from user fees paid by residents/businesses on the Islands, to the CVRD on an annual basis.
This annual private/public profit-sharing arrangement will make funds available to service the $760,000 investment debt. When the loan is paid off, the ongoing annual revenues will be used for programs that benefit residents of the Islands, and of the CVRD.
Under the current Provincial Economic Recovery Intake program, for rural digital connectivity for projects that can be rapidly built, up to $10 million/project, and 90% of costs, can be applied for.
Our project qualifies for this program. And we are asking for less than these maximums.
An application on our behalf was submitted on March 19, 2021.
Here are the cost estimates provided by City West, in that application:
Cost to build (both islands) $ 7,603,000
CVRD contribution $ 760,000
City West contribution $ 1,203,000
E.R.I. GRANT APPLIED FOR $ 5,640,000 (74% of estimated costs)
Action item: We request that our MLA, Honourable Josie Osborne, take a leadership position on our behalf and ensure that $5,640,000 in funding from the British Columbia Economic Recovery Intake (ERI) digital connectivity rapid relief program will be approved to immediately develop high speed, fibre-optic internet service on Denman and Hornby Islands as outlined herein. Specifically, advocating on our behalf, to the Honourable Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services.
Our sincere thanks for your support, to help our Islands cross the Digital Divide.
Hornby Denman Internet Working Group
- Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation – John Grayson, Karen Ross
- Denman Island Ratepayer’s originated Internet Committee – Peter Spurr, John Wigle
Project endorsed by:
- Denman Island Residents Association
- Island Trust, Trustees on both Denman and Hornby Islands
- Hornby Island Residents & Ratepayers Association
Faster internet for Denman, Hornby islands
Citizens' Services News Release Victoria Thursday, August 5, 2021 9:15 AM Excerpts:
Faster, more reliable internet is coming to people on Denman and Hornby islands as the Connecting British Columbia program continues its work to bring world-class connectivity to rural communities on the coast.
People on Denman and Hornby islands will soon be able to enjoy improved internet performance, thanks to two projects supported by the Connecting British Columbia program. CityWest will receive up to $3.26 million from the program to upgrade services on Denman Island and up to $2.38 million for its work on Hornby Island, helping to ensure people in these communities have the internet access they need well into the future.
More than 1,350 households will begin to see improvements through these projects, with reliable, high-speed internet coming with the Connected Coast project.
Connected Coast is a $45.4-million investment in coastal connectivity jointly funded by federal and B.C. governments. CityWest has partnered with the Strathcona Regional District to construct a subsea fibre-optic network with access points along B.C.’s coastline between Vancouver and Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii and around Vancouver Island. Construction is expected to begin this summer and will include stops on the Gulf Islands.
“We’re absolutely thrilled about today’s announcement, which is the result of huge support at the provincial and community levels, as well as hard work from our entire team at CityWest,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO, CityWest. “We’re looking forward to working with and serving the communities on Denman and Hornby islands, ensuring they get great Internet services and a superior customer experience.”
People on Denman and Hornby islands will be able to enjoy a direct fibre connection to their homes when the Connected Coast network is completed and their community is connected to a proposed landing site.
Investments in high-speed internet access for coastal communities is part of Stronger BC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.
The Province expanded the Connecting British Columbia program in September 2020 with a $90-million grant to encourage investment in broadband and cellular infrastructure that benefits people in rural and Indigenous communities throughout B.C.
Northern Development Initiative Trust has been the fund administrator for the Connecting British Columbia program since its inception in 2015. Northern Development is a regionally operated economic development funding corporation for central and northern British Columbia and operates independently from government.
Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim –
“Travelling throughout my riding, one of the most consistent priorities I hear from people is the critical importance of fast and reliable internet access. The Connecting British Columbia program is doing a remarkable job encouraging service providers to make investments in communities like Denman Island and Hornby Island. A bright future – one where people in coastal communities have the internet access they need – is quickly coming into view, thanks to co-operation between all orders of government and with internet service providers.”
A “hello” from City West, with a friendly explanation of how to opt-in for a “drop” to your premise. By expressing your interest now, it will expedite how fast the program could get underway. The first activities in development are permitting and design. When you opt-in to receive a drop on the side of your building/for your location, work can commence on the preliminary work.