The Canadian telecommunication operator, TELUS has completed a 14 million Canadian dollar worth fiber optic network connecting Northern Vancouver Island. Residents, businesses, healthcare facilities and schools are now able to take advantage of dramatically faster, higher-capacity Internet and data connections. Running 150 kilometers through part of the traditional territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations from the Sayward Junction to Port McNeill, the new infrastructure connects communities including Woss Lake, Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Alert Bay, Port Alice, Holberg, Quatsino, Winter Harbour, Tahsis, Zeballos, Hesquiaht, Kingcome, Inlet, Hope Island, Fort Rupert and Dead Point on Harbledown Island.
The fiber optic network enables the operator to dramatically increase its broadband and wireless capacity across the region. The new fiber optic network will enhance wireless service in the area, providing the capacity needed to upgrade existing sites to 4G LTE, the fastest wireless technology available in the world today. TELUS anticipates the wireless upgrades will be complete within the next year.
Vancouver Island, located in British Columbia, Canada, is the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand. While the city of Vancouver stands on the North American mainland, Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is located on the island. The island is 460 kilometers in length, 80 kilometers in width at its widest point. It is the largest island on the West Coast of North America, the world’s 43rd largest island, Canada’s 11th largest island, and Canada’s second most populous island after the Island of Montreal. The island’s population is around 759,000 and nearly half of the population live in Greater Victoria. Notable cities and towns on Vancouver Island include Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay, and Campbell River
For Telus, completion of the fiber optic network in North Vancouver Island is an accomplishment on a number of levels. Apart from building strong relationships with the Kwakiutl Band Council, other First Nations and local communities, Telus could develop an environmentally sustainable way to install 150 kilometers of fiber optic cable along the highway, and unleashed significant possibilities for the region’s 11,000 residents, local businesses, healthcare facilities, and schools. This investment in fiber optic networks has started bringing high speed Internet to some communities for the first time, while enabling new approaches in healthcare, education, business and home entertainment on the North Island for years to come.
Vancouver Island is home to some of the most diverse geography in the province, presenting unique challenges for this significant fiber build. TELUS began preliminary engineering and environmental reviews four years ago, and completed the build in collaboration with the Kwakiutl Band Council, local governments, businesses and community groups. Marking a first in Canadian history, TELUS completed the build by using specialized equipment to place the fiber optic cable in narrow but deep trenches within the roadbed alongside the highway, eliminating the need for road-side logging and reducing the visual impact for residents and visitors. TELUS estimates using this approach saved hundreds of thousands of trees, as safety regulations require trees within 50 meters of the highway be cut down if lines are strung aerially.
Many TELUS customers are already able to take advantage of the new network, and TELUS anticipates most customers will be moved to the new network by the end of this year. TELUS is building a similar fiber optic network for other Vancouver Island communities from Port Alberni to the Ucluelet Junction, and expects work will be complete next year.
TELUS recently announced a commitment to invest $4 billion in British Columbia through 2018 to bring advanced telecommunications infrastructure to every corner of the province, enabling sustained innovation, providing access to world-class education programs, extending critical healthcare technology to more communities, and fueling economic growth. By the end of 2018, TELUS will have invested more than $47 billion in British Columbia since 2000.