CEO Chris Marett announces that City West is investing $10 million to bring fibre-to-the-home to it’s North Coast customers. Photo by Shannon Lough

Fibre fast future for the city

CityWest invests $10 million to bring fibre-to-the-home technology to Prince Rupert

CityWest is investing $10-million to bring wireless fibre-to-the-home technology to Prince Rupert.

Fibre-optic cable uses light, which makes streaming movies, Netflix shows or chatting with friends on Skype a less glitchy experience. Fibre can also carry more data at higher speeds over long distances.

In the north, CityWest has already brought the service to areas of Terrace, Kitimat, Smithers and Metlakatla.

“We’re starting from the outside in. It will take us a few years to do just because of the size that Prince Rupert is,” said CEO Chris Marett, following the public announcement on May 30.

Bringing fibre-to-the-home technology is something CityWest has been working on for the last few months. The actual build will begin this fall but there is no set timeline for when it will be complete.

Each house will have a GigaCenter to provide wireless Internet and TV — no need for extra cords hanging from back of the TV or phone.

Currently, CityWest offers its Rupert customers up to 125 megabits per second download speed, but fibre can reach speeds of 1,000 megabits per second.

With new video technologies demand for bandwidth continues to increase but fibre networks are considered to be future proof as the equipment can be improved without having to change the fibre.

“We’re making the investment now, so we can prepare for the demand that will come in the future,” Marett said. “In order for our customers to continue getting a great experience from us, we need to invest in fibre-to-the-home.”

The multi-million dollar investment was possible due to the expansions CityWest took in other markets, including Hazelton and Houston, where services were launched earlier in the year. The company also invested $1 million to bring fibre technology to downtown Terrace.

Marett said that the upgrades in Prince Rupert will be at no extra cost to its clients, or the City of Prince Rupert. The infrastructure will be funded out of current ownings as well as a bank loan.

“It’s great to see a homegrown company reinvesting into our community,” Mayor Lee Brain said. “Prince Rupert has already established itself as a key hub of global interconnectivity through our growing port. This investment will advance our technological capacity, and make Prince Rupert that much more attractive as a place to live, work and invest.”

In the fall, CityWest crews and Outside Plant, which is supervising the build, will be working on power lines outside Prince Rupert homes and Marett said every customer will be contacted by a customer service agent to see what services they would like.

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