TELUS team members, Eric Nordgren and Rob Aiello, standing in front of a TELUS van with Indigenous artwork painted on the vehicle.

Reconciliation

Welcoming Highway 1 communities to the PureFibre family

Nov 9, 2023

(Above) TELUS Community Service Delivery Manager, Eric Nordgren with Lower Mainland General Manager, Rob Aiello. Featuring artwork by Fred Jackson, Ch’iyáqtel (Tzeachten).

More than 850 households across 11 rural, remote and Indigenous communities in the upper Fraser Valley now have access to high-speed internet services, unlocking the digital doors to economic, social and community development.

The TELUS PureFibre® connectivity in Dogwood Valley, Squeah and Yale, as well as the Indigenous communities of Yale First Nation (Yale Town 1, Albert Flat 5, Stullawheets 8 and Lukseetsissum 9), Chawathil First Nation (Schkam 2 and Chawathil 4) and Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation (Skawahlook 1 and Ruby Creek 2) follows a collaboration with community leaders funded by a $3.8M joint investment by TELUS and the Government of British Columbia.

Already, access to fibre – offering lightning-fast speed and reliability – has proven transformative for residents like Jolena Hope, owner of the Hope River General Store & RV Park near Yale and member of Yale First Nation. For Hope, the ease she now enjoys to connect with people, both inside the community and beyond is revolutionary. She sees a wealth of new business opportunities and avenues for growth for both herself and her business community. 

“These days it’s critical for small businesses like mine to keep up with changes, connect with people and learn so we can succeed – connectivity helps us achieve this,” she said. 

Hope River General Store & RV Park.

Hope River General Store & RV Park, near Yale, BC. Photo submitted by Jolena Hope.

Faster internet connection has also made it easier for the newly connected local governments in the region to serve their citizens, find efficiencies and support their staff’s potential to grow their community’s interests. 

“We were previously on dial-up. For our economic operations to stay competitive and deliver our long-term strategy, we needed to upgrade to the best high-speed connectivity available,” said Chief Norman Florence of Chawathil First Nation.

“Between participating in virtual meetings and sharing large document files, high-speed internet is necessary for all these basic government needs today,” he added.

Celebrating community milestones

Following the completion of the network build in 2021, TELUS team members gathered in June 2023 with Yale First Nation and Chawathil First Nation community leaders and members, as well as Citizens’ Services Minister, Lisa Beare on Yale First Nation lands. The gathering celebrated this innovative project that provides new PureFibre services to the surrounding communities. 

A traditional welcome from a Yale Elder and Chawathil drummers kicked off the event while everyone in attendance was seated in a speaking circle. Chawathil Chief Florence described the positive effects he has seen for his community members and Chawathil Nation staff. Minister Beare, Yale council member Janita Peters-Kriegl and TELUS’ Vice-president Customer Network Implementation, Shazia Zeb Sobani also shared their thoughts on the effects reliable, high-speed internet has on communities. Community members provided personal stories about their ability to now connect with relatives living away from home and the excitement their children had at being able to game while someone else in the house is streaming a movie. Afterwards, the group continued their conversations over coffee and desserts. Minister Beare was treated to a tour of Yale First Nation’s community gardens and a Nation member’s business, Hope River General Store.

The Honourable Lisa Beare, alongside TELUS team members and community members of Yale First Nation and Chawathil First Nation.

Top Row (left-to-right): Eric Nordgren, Elsie Kipp, Marissa Nobauer. Lower Row (left-to-right): Yale Councillor Janita Peters-Kriegl, Minister Beare, Chawathil Drummer David Gutierrez, Shazia Zeb Sobani, Anne Zhong, Chawathil Chief Norman Florence.

B.C. Minister of Citizens’ services Lisa Beare expressed her enthusiasm for what this means for families, businesses and individuals living in these areas. 

”Connectivity for these 11 communities provides a foundation for community growth, supporting people with the option to stay and invest in the communities they call home,” she said.

The B.C. government has aligned with Canada’s ambitious objectives laid out in their High-Speed Access for All: Canada's Connectivity Strategy. In acknowledgement of the socio-economic importance of connectivity in today’s world, the governments are working in tandem to connect every British Columbian to high-speed internet by 2030. The successful partnership between TELUS and the B.C. Government that enabled the new fibre build for these 11 upper Fraser Valley communities, marks a significant step toward these strategy objectives and is another milestone in bridging digital divides across Canada. 

Over the next five years, TELUS will invest $18.5 billion to build and develop network infrastructure, operations and spectrum across B.C. Across Canada, TELUS has committed $81 billion by 2027.

To learn more about how connectivity is helping Jolena Hope and other Indigenous businesses owners achieve economic success, sign-up to receive this year’s Indigenous Reconciliation and Connectivity Report available November 23, 2023.