Moving a high-definition movie’s worth of data over the internet in seconds isn’t just cool, it’s becoming more and more essential.
Wednesday, Port Moody took a step closer to that reality when Telus announced a $20-million project to connect 90 per cent of the city to its PureFibre high-speed network. While initial speeds on the new network will top out at 150 megabits per second, it will have the capacity to advance to a gigabit per second as demand evolves. That means it will take about half a minute to download a 5 GB high-def movie file.
Zouheir Mansourati, Telus' vice-president of broadband implementation, said planning is underway for deploying the network along existing overhead routes or digging trenches beneath roadways to run the fibre optic cable through conduit. He said the first homes and businesses should be connected by late May, with the project likely completed by 2020.
Mansourati said the company never promises 100% coverage because it “always bumps into surprises along the way.”
Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay said the fibre network will keep the city competitive with other communities in Metro Vancouver when it comes to attracting and retaining businesses that need high-speed internet access.
“Now we’ll be on par and can compete," he said.
Clay said the time is right for the city to go fibre — at no cost to taxpayers — as more residents telecommute and small businesses try to stay competitive in a global marketplace.
“We have a very tech-savvy population here,” he said. “This enables a lot of people to do interesting things.”
Michael Hind, the CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, said access to high-speed fibre internet is a key consideration when many businesses are trying to decide where to locate.
Mansourati said an important feature of the fibre network is its capacity to allow users to upload data as quickly as they can download it.
“Sharing of text, photos and video is higher than ever,” he said, adding the growing role of remote health care also makes symmetry in upload and download speeds imperative.
Mansourati said residents aren’t obligated to subscribe to Telus’ services if they accept the fibre connection to their home. He added the high-speed network will also benefit wireless users as their data and communication moves by landline once its captured by a tower and is moved to a node.