Business

CityWest solves Internet blockage

Continuing its 100-year tradition of providing quality telecommunications to Northwest B.C., CityWest has finished building a fibre-optic link from Prince Rupert to Prince George.

Running more than 700 kilometres along Hwy 16, the new link will provide CityWest's customers with better access to the Internet, which, along with continuing upgrades, means faster speeds online.

"The finishing touches were done in February, when one of our employees drove to different communities along the route to hook everything up," said CityWest CEO Don Holkestad. "But that one trip took years of work."

Holkestad said the persistence and dedication of staff, along with a little bit of luck, helped CityWest build the fibre-optic line. "Every single employee, in some way, helped get this line built, and they should all be proud."

While the line is state-of-the-art technology, Holkestad said its construction is part of CityWest's long tradition of investing in Northwest B.C. Over the past 7 years, he said, CityWest has invested over $15 million in this fibre-optic line, which will bring some of the highest Internet speeds to Northwest B.C.

"Even when times were tough, we funded improvements in the Northwest's telecommunications infrastructure, knowing that our initial investment would pay dividends in the long run," Holkestad said.

Fibre-optic lines form the backbone of global telecommunications. Criss-crossing continents and oceans, their existence allows individuals to connect with each other all over the world – people can send email to their friends in Europe, or Skype with their relatives in Australia, or bring up a website from India, all thanks to fibre-optics.

In some ways, the global fibre-optic infrastructure is still very young, which puts CityWest at the forefront of the technological curve. This isn't new territory for the company, however: in 2010, the company built a 1-gigabit fibre loop for School District 52 in Prince Rupert, which is still one of the only such networks in the province.

Indeed, fibre-optic technology is the future of global telecommunications. "We're happy to use this advanced technology to connect our customers in Northwest B.C. to each other and to the world," said Holkestad.

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