Frequently Asked Questions


Who does GwaiiTel provide service to?

GwaiiTel provides service to local internet service providers (ISPs) and anchor tenants such as Village and Band offices.

Why is the new fiber network being built underground?

A fiber network spanning over 110km is an expensive piece of infrastructure to maintain. By making the decision to move the network underground, GwaiiTel has reduced the long-term maintenance costs. With the frequent heavy weather events on Haida Gwaii, a buried cable is largely immune to threats like blown down trees, collisions with telephone poles, or telephone lines being struck by industrial machines. A geological event large enough to disrupt the buried fiber would also likely disrupt service to poll hung fiber, and would have similar repair costs. GwaiiTel is insured during the build and will also carry insurance after the build.

What will happen if the fiber optic line is broken, and how will you fix it?

If the fiber optic line breaks, anywhere south of the break will be temporarily out of service. To restore service as quickly as possible, we have built service boxes into the system every kilometer and at every stream crossing. GwaiiTel has spare fibre optic line on island to temporarily repair the ruptured line until an experienced crew can arrive. There is training for on-island personnel as well.

Will the fiber make my internet faster?

Yes! But there are many reasons your internet may be slow or unreliable. Think of it as a pipe from the mainland to your home. We will be ensuring that the pipe is fully open from Mt Hays to Sandspit. We will be supplying your ISP with better and faster service into each of the communities. At your home, you should make sure there is no interference. You can do this by keeping your equipment up to date, keeping your router current, making sure your computer is working properly, making sure trees do not block your home and the ISP signal, and making sure you don't add new wireless equipment that my interfere with the signal. If you're not sure how to do these things, speak with your ISP.

Will my internet be cheaper and unlimited as a result of this fiber?

GwaiiTel was formed because Haida Gwaii is not a good business plan for a profit based organization. By being able to access grants for new infrastructure, GwaiiTel is building a system no large telecommunication company would have invested in. Our small spread out population makes us expensive to operate and maintain. GwaiiTel hopes to lower costs to the ISPs overtime, but we first need to start to save for maintaining and continuing to upgrade this high end system. Our costs are still based on usage and as such, we cannot afford to offer the ISPs unlimited bandwidth.