Internet upgrade on the horizon

Representatives from Telus assure Port Hardy Council that the future is friendly.

PORT HARDY—Representatives from Telus and Network BC appeared before Port Hardy Council last week and assured those present that the future was friendly for North Island telecommunications.

As residents will attest, internet access has left something to be desired of late, with a waiting list for new customers and slow, intermittent service for those with a connection.

The issue lies with the infrastructure on the North Island. “The infrastructure in place is designed for voice,” explained Ray Lawson, Telus’ Vancouver Island General Manager.

While Port Hardy is connected to Port McNeill via fibre optic cable, the connection from Port McNeill to Sayward uses microwave transmission. It is this section of the connection that is operating at full capacity.

After years of lobbying from local government, a project is now underway to run fibre to bridge the gap and eliminate the need for Port Hardy and Port McNeill residents to rely on the outdated technology.

The good news is that the work is slated to be completed sooner than many expected. After bringing in a piece of specialized digging machinery — only the second such machine in North America —to aid the project, Telus expects end-to-end activation in May 2014.

Once the upgrade is complete, those who can take advantage of the new technology will see a night-and-day difference in the level of service.

Lawson put it in perspective when he was asked whether the system would be future-proofed or if the North Island would be in the same position as it is now ten years down the line.

He explained that the company was running 144 cables in the pipe, each capable of 1 terabyte per second transmission. In simpler terms, if peak usage was four users per household, each streaming a high definition movie, the new system could cater for around 5 million customers.

Initially, however, the project will only bring the fibre connection to the existing portion of the backhaul. In other words, once the fibre is connected to the main switches, it will be distributed via the existing copper wires.

This system has a radius of around 1.5 km from the switch, so only those who can currently receive service will be able to take advantage of the upgrade. Potential customers in Coal Harbour and Storey’s Beach will still have a wait for service from Telus.

Once the fibre service is connected to the North Island however, those remaining on the current system should, in theory at least, also see improved service due to the reduced load on the system while distribution options are investigated.

Telus will work with council staff to map the town and look into the expense and practicality of installing a local fibre-to-home upgrade.

A second distribution option is also being investigated which, in theory, would expand the radius of service to 28 km. Lawson stressed that this option was untested, but if viable would dramatically expand the availability of internet access.

Due to logistic factors and expense, the line upgrade will not lead to expanded cellular service on the highway, another boon many hoped the project would bring.

Lawson explained that, while it would indeed be possible to erect cell towers along the route, powering the towers would be prohibitively expensive.

Besides the cost of the towers themselves — estimated at around one million dollars apiece for each of the 13 towers needed to provide complete coverage — the cost of running power cables from the main transmission lines to the sites was estimated at $26m.

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy’s RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen: ‘It’s business as usual’ after cannabis legalization

Local RCMP will still be on the lookout for impaired driving despite cannabis legalization.

Jay Dixon finishes top three for School and District Leadership award

“I believe it’s all of our responsibility for our schools to provide quality education,” said Dixon.

7 Mile Landfill operations tender closes October

Taxes covering the landfill have not increased over the past 15 years and are not expected to soon.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land for expansion

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

Port Hardy municipal candidate Rick Marcotte’s profile

“I feel that we have had a wonderful council that can discuss issues of importance,” said Marcotte.

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

Port Hardy municipal election candidate Leightan Wishart’s profile

Wishart speaks on his experience: “I’ve was elected to the School Board in 2002.”

Most Read