If all goes according to plan, Telus is hoping to have the first homes in Kimberley installed with fibre optic broadband Internet by June.
Announced at the end of February, Telus staff has been working alongside Kimberley city staff and council to get the proper planning in place before beginning the process of connecting each home to fibre optic.
Telus has made a $10.5 million investment into the community—without any government subsidization—in order to get the project off the ground.
Zouheir Mansourati, Vice President of Broadband Implementation with Telus, said Kimberley is a test run of sorts to understand and work with the challenges of getting broadband into smaller, rural communities.
“We felt at this point, with the [Tier] Three communities where there was a meaningful lack of broadband, access to the internet and to services that are very useful, we felt that we could come and practice what we need to do, strengthen our muscles, our knowledge and draw some lessons,” Mansourati.
The process began last year as Telus began the consultation process with the community, according to Mansourati. That process is now over and it’s now time to go door-to-door to install the fibre optic cable.
Mansourati said that contractors will request permission from each and every home and business to install the fibre optic cable drop. The work will be done for free and home or business owners can make the decision whether or not they wish to connect to the fibre optic network or keep their existing internet services.
Fibre optic technology will be installed alongside existing cable connections paths either aerially or buried below ground.
“All this is done at no cost to the customer. In other terms, we build the service, we ask for their permission to do a fibre drop, we do the fibre drop, then there’s no obligation for them to buy the service,” said Mansourati.
“If later they come and they request the service and we offer it and install it for them. That service would be any of: voice, internet access or Optik TV service or all three of them.”
Kimberley has been divided up into what Mansourati describes as 13 fibre-serving areas (FSA)—the first of which should be completed by June with September as a completion date for all the rest.
The Federal government’s definition of high speed internet starts at five megabits per second (MBps). The fibre-optic service provided by Telus will allow for over 100 MBps, depending on what services customers ask for, said Mansourati, which is comparable to speeds more readily available in major cities.
When it comes to broadband, internet is the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s more than just connectivity. Watching TV in standard definition requires about 3-4 MBps. High-definition channels require 5-6 MBps, while Ultra High-definition—or 4K—channels require 20-25 MBps.
Kimberley mayor Don McCormick notes that the addition of fibre-optic technology to Kimberley is a huge win for local businesses.
“This announcement means that Kimberley is just a handful of rural communities that can boast the same internet speeds as major cities,” said McCormick.
“To us we see that as more than just a convenience, we see that as a competitive advantage to business owners in town that want to combine lifestyle along with the business opportunities and we’re seeing more and more of those types of individuals moving out to the East Kootenays and other rural areas.”
For more information on fibre optic technology and to register for progress updates, please visit TELUS.com/kimberley or call 1-855-595-5588.