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

Granisle grizzlies moved

Video of the release of grizzlies getting a bit too comfortable in Granisle.

Telkwa student UNBC valedictorian

Arctica Cunningham gives her valedictorian speech May 25 at University of Northern British Columbia.

Local nurses celebrated during National Nurses Week

One nurse inspiring others to have pride in their jobs by wearing her nurse’s cap again

Second national bowling title for Madison Richter

Madison Richter, 14, is getting used to going out of town and coming home as a national champion.

International students land in Smithers

There are 20 people who came from the other side of the world to study in Smithers.

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title

Most Read