BY GILLIAN SHAW, VANCOUVER SUN
VANCOUVER — Telus announced today it is rolling out $1 billion in fibre optic infrastructure right across Vancouver, putting the city among the top connected cities in the world with the most advanced high speed Internet connectivity.
In making the announcement, Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said the fibre optic networks will transform “the way we live, the way we work, the way we socialize and the way we raise our families in a digital world and society.”
“Ours is an investment that will be felt for generations to come,” Entwistle told an audience that included BC Premier Christy Clark, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, BC’s technology minister Amrik Virk and other politicians.
While fibre optic is available in small areas and among some businesses and multifamily buildings, the Telus fibre optic build-out across Vancouver will cover the entire city, extending gigabit-enabled technology to residences, businesses, educational institutions, hospitals and other centres.
Entwistle said the investment “will future proof Vancouver’s digital demands for decades to come.”
Currently less than 10 per cent of North Americans have access to a fibre optic network. Entwistle cited the handful of American cities that have gigabit-enabled infrastructure, infrastructure he said has results in a 110 basis points improvement in GDP “and growing.
Vancouver currently is number 20 among top North American cities for technology and Entwistle predicted the fibre optic infrastructure boost 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.
When the rollout, which is expected to take five or six years to complete, is started, Vancouver businesses and residences will be able to access Internet speeds of up to 150 megabits per second. Currently the fastest premium-priced speed offered by Telus for the home has download speeds of 100 mbps and upload speeds of 20 mbps.
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.
“I don’t have fibre optic to my home, I’m looking forward to it coming,” BC Premier Christy Clark told the crowd. However, she added, “for me that’s a small thing compared to the impact this is going to have for businesses all across the city.
“There are many big businesses in the city that already have good connectivity but many small businesses don’t,” she said.
Clark said the network infrastructure will also attract talent to the city.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he is “thrilled to see this in real time happening in Vancouver, at such a pivotal time for our city.”
He said the fibre optic build-out “is going to be another big boost for Vancouver’s economy.”
“We’re on a roll and innovation is at the core of that success,” he said.