19 Oct 2015 Telus Rolling Out $1 Billion Fibre Optic Network Across Vancouver
Content provided by The Vancouver Sun
If your Internet connection is still running over old lines, movie downloads will speed up and office Internet slowdowns could disappear with Telus’ Vancouver-wide fibre optic infrastructure announced Friday.
But while the $1 billion project will connect the entire City of Vancouver with a network capable of download speeds of one gigabit per second, the first Vancouver neighbourhoods to be connected will experience download speeds of up to 150 megabits per second, 50 mpbs more than Telus’ current premium-priced Internet speed and 30 mbps more than Shaw’s current top speed.
In making the announcement, Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said the project “will future proof Vancouver’s digital demands for decades to come.”
“Once complete, our fibre build will have an unprecedented impact on our city, transforming the way we live, work, socialize and raise our families in the digital world,” Entwistle told an audience that included Premier Christy Clark, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Technology Minister Amrik Virk and other politicians.
The city-wide rollout, expected to take the next five years, starting with the west side of Vancouver, is expected to bolster Vancouver’s desirability as a place to do business.
“I think it is going to put Vancouver squarely on the map as one of the top cities with state-of-the-art fibre infrastructure,” Bill Tam, president and CEO of the B.C. Technology Industries Association said following Friday’s announcement. “I think it makes a big difference in the competitive landscape in attracting not only tech companies but companies of all types.”
Tam said his association’s Innovation Hub has been using a Telus fibre optic network for the past eight months and it is making a difference for the hub’s emerging tech companies.
“We have health tech companies, gaming companies, cloud-based and big data companies that all need that kind of speed,” he said. “It makes a huge difference in the ability of these kind of companies to innovate on their ideas.”
At home, the higher capacity and faster speeds will put an end to the Netflix ‘spinning wheel of death,’ that can interrupt a streaming high-definition movie, especially if other family members are playing games or on other networked devices all vying for bandwidth.
“In my house, we probably have six devices going simultaneously,” said Tam. “We get the spinning wheel quite often on Netflix. That will not happen if we’re on a fibre-optic network.”
Tony Geheran, Telus president of broadband networks, said the company is working with the city in planning the roll out, “neighbourhood by neighbourhood.” He said users will experience speeds increasing over the next 18 to 26 months. Geheran said customers who choose to have the fibre optic connection won’t have to pay anything above Telus’s current rates for its top tier of service.
Fibre optic networks are already available in a number of areas. In downtown Vancouver and other urban centres, fibre optic networks connect multi-family residences and some businesses. Such services are offered by Telus and other providers, including Novus Internet in Vancouver and nearby suburbs.
Telus is also putting fibre optic networks into smaller centres and rural areas of B.C. Last spring, Telus announced it is investing $60 million to extend its fibre optic network to 90 per cent of residences in Kamloops.
Unlike some building-specific or area-specific fibre offerings, the Telus fibre-optic installation in Vancouver will cover the entire city, extending to residences, businesses, educational institutions, hospitals and more.
Currently fewer than 10 per cent of North Americans have access to a fibre optic network. Vancouver is No. 20 among top North American cities for technology and Entwistle predicted the fibre optic infrastructure will improve the city’s standing.
“With our Telus fibre investment, I believe Vancouver will soon be in the top 10 and thereafter, in the top five, such is the potential and competitive advantage our investment exudes for our city,” he said.
While the improved capacity and speed will make a difference in homes, it will be most significant for businesses, hospitals and other community organizations and for the expansion of the Internet of Things, a world in which everything from ovens to advanced medical equipment can be connected to a network.
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