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$90M Telus upgrade for Saanich internet

Telus said Thursday it will spend about $90 million to increase internet speeds in Saanich. The telecom company will start infrastructure upgrades for its fibre-to-the-premise network for the municipality’s homes and businesses immediately.
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A woman is silhouetted as the Telus Corp. logo is displayed on a screen during a company event in Vancouver on Friday, October 2, 2015. Telus says its fifth-generation wireless network will be activated in five of Canada's largest markets starting Friday, with another 26 to be added by the end of this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Telus said Thursday it will spend about $90 million to increase internet speeds in Saanich.

The telecom company will start infrastructure upgrades for its fibre-to-the-premise network for the municipality’s homes and businesses immediately. Telus said there is no cost to Saanich taxpayers or its subscribers.

Residents can expect to see more Telus trucks rolling throughout their neighbourhoods as the company works to connect homes to the network, said Telus spokeswoman Liz Sauvé.

She said technicians will be stringing new fibre lines from the street poles to homes or, where someone has a conduit or connection underground, Telus will pull the fibre from the street to their home.

“We, of course, require homeowner approval to connect them to the network, so our team will be out in masks and proper PPE, engaging residents at a safe social distance to see if they’d like their home connected for free,” said Sauvé.

The new network will allow users much faster internet speeds for video conferencing, gaming or uploading files, said Sauvé, particularly as more people work or learn from home through the pandemic.

Saanich will be one of about 130 communities in B.C., Alberta and eastern Quebec with Telus’s PureFibre network.

Sauve said Telus has already connected parts of Victoria, Sooke, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Ladysmith, Duncan, Chemainus, Port Alberni, Spider Lake, Little Qualicum River Village, Ucluelet, Tofino, Cumberland, Comox, Port McNeill and Port Hardy.

Sauvé said work is underway in Saanich. “The way we generally work is to connect a small community area entirely and then light up service, so residents can start using the fibre pretty shortly after they are connected,” Sauvé said.

Telus said the investment will enhance wireline and wireless connectivity, and prepare the region for 5G technology in the years ahead. Since 2013, Telus has invested more than $5 billion to connect 130 communities and 55 First Nations.

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said connectivity is important during these changing and challenging times. “That’s why Saanich council is pleased to support projects like this that help us all stay on the leading edge,” he said in a statement. “Our community is constantly moving forward and it’s essential that our businesses and residents have access to high quality technology to help us all achieve our goals.”