Workers run a fibre optic cable near Main Street Monday morning. Downtown Smithers will be the first area connected with high speed Internet.

Higher-speed Internet coming to Bulkley Valley

Fibre optic network will be hooked up in phases in Telkwa and Smithers, with downtown Smithers the first area to be connected this spring.

Business files and cat videos will soon be coming through Telkwa and Smithers’ computers much faster after Prince Rupert-based company CityWest finishes installing its new fibre to the home network.

New Hazelton was hooked up last Wednesday, and fibre optic cables to beam the Internet to Old Hazelton and the Kispiox Valley will start going up in the next few weeks according to CityWest’s Donovan Dias.

We’ve just been here for so long that if we don’t do it, we can’t see anyone else doing it,” said Dias.

High-speed Internet plans for Smithers and Telkwa as well as a new Smithers office were discussed at Thursday’s Smithers and District Chamber of Commerce meeting.

The downtown store is expected to open April 7 and employ five people. The fibre optic network will be hooked up in phases in Telkwa and Smithers, with downtown Smithers the first area to be connected this spring.

I would use a year as a time line,” said CEO Don Holkestad when asked at the meeting when he expects all the work to be done.

High-speed service will be available to anyone who is within the company’s cable television service. Holkestad said he believed it would allow more people to consider Smithers as an option to move their business, a sentiment Mayor Taylor Bachrach echoed.

The Internet has become such an integral part of our economy and just our daily lives that smaller communities and remote areas are getting left behind.

I think this project is going to catch Smithers up with a bunch of the world and give us a bunch of cutting edge technology,” said Bachrach.

We already have so many recreational amenities and obviously the landscape is spectacular; one of the things people are looking for, particularly if they move from a larger centre, is higher speed internet.”

Holkestad said an upgrade to the company’s networks across the Northwest was happening because of the huge jump in how much bandwidth customers were using. He said in his presentation that network usage had gone up 864 per cent since 2012.

It’s growing exponentially and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon,” said Holkestad.

CityWest has applied to the federal government’s $305 million Connecting Canadians fund meant to connect rural and remote communities to high-speed Internet.

We’ve put in applications to the Smithers east area — sections beyond Telkwa — and we’ve also put in an application for Lake Kathlyn and the airport area to get fibre to the home services there as well,” said Dias.

Any support we can get from residents in the area, whether that letter comes through us and we send it on, or if you send it through political channels through Industry Canada, those types of things will certainly help the case.”

 

Just Posted

The Smithers Airshow Society has flown the coop

Insurance rates, lack of volunteers grounded future airshows in Smithers but search & rescue benefits.

Telkwa Coal meeting for the neighbours

Allegiance Coal hopes to have a larger open house in the first quarter next year.

Babine Forest Product’s fine appeal not successful

The company has been ordered to pay the $1.01 million fine after the 2012 Burns Lake explosion.

Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako continues to raise LNG pipeline concerns

Wood fibre use and spruce beetle concerns. TransCanada amends Coastal GasLink pipeline route.

Northwest figure skaters get special training in Smithers ahead of KlaHowYa

Smithers club looks forward to welcoming over 200 skaters from across the North Dec. 1-3.

Run, hide, fight — surviving an active shooter situation

A former Kelowna cop teaches how to survive an active shooter situation

Hammy dodges conservation officers

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness to kick off season

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

B.C. church defaced with disturbing anti-Christian graffiti

Staff at Crossroads United Church reported the vandalism to police late last week

Most Read