Wireless coverage considered an essential service for rural Alberta.
Telus’ PureFibre Project has begun for the hamlets of Lac La Biche and Plamondon.
Lac La Biche County made the announcement about their new partnership with Telus back in March at the Rob McCormick Memorial Pond Hockey Tournament.
The partnership began because the County wanted to connect their municipal buildings to fibre, this is when Telus suggested installing a fibre-optic network into both hamlets to improve the wireless connectivity in the area.
“I know it’s an important issue for the region, so the fiberization of Lac La Biche and Plamondon will significantly benefit the rural customers,” said Brian Bettis, Northern Alberta’s Telus General Manager.
Telus will be installing a fibre-optic network below the ground and building a cell tower in Noral. These new changes would also get Lac La Biche and Plamondon ready for 5G technology in the future.
Telus will be paying for 56 per cent of the project, which comes out roughly to $7.8 million. Lac La Biche County will be paying the rest in increments of $2.3 million annually for the next three years.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Telus updated the County on the progress they have made thus far.
“Telus recently started to put in some of the necessary hardware that they need to start the project,” said Omer Moghrabi, Lac La Biche Mayor.
“They will continue into next year, we will come up with some of the hard dates as to when it will be finished and let residents know when we find out. It is going to be completed sometime in 2021.”
Many residents in rural Alberta do not have good quality wireless service, which Moghrabi believes is crucial to enhance the standard of living for the region.
“Rural Alberta’s wireless network is considered an essential service. In rural Alberta, there’s nothing, even for our Metis and First Nations, so we decided to work with Telus and partner in terms of bringing the fibre-optic network to Lac La Biche and surrounding areas,” said Moghrabi.
The fibre optic network will not only benefit the residents, but also local businesses will be able to stay competitive with higher-speed Internet.
“For the residents and businesses it’s all about the connectivity. It is able to travel at the speed of light,” said Moghrabi.
“It’s able to join us to the rest of the world. I think it’s considered an essential part of our lifestyles for Canadians.”
As the project continues to progress, Lac La Biche residents are expected to see more construction and Telus trucks within the hamlet.
They will also be asking each house whether they want to connect to the network.
“This is the digital railroad for the next 50 to 100 years. It creates a great building block to connect everyone and bring them into the digital economy,” said Bettis.