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Telus Future Home promotes fibre optic upgrade in Central Saanich

$15.5 million investment brings faster internet, better cell coverage

Hugo Wong

News staff

From now until Friday, September 15, a 585-square foot home imagining the home of the future is open in the Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot (7816 East Saanich Road) from 11-8 p.m. daily. The demo home promotes Telus’ $15.5-million expansion of its fibre optic network into Central Saanich, which broke ground in August, and is expected to finish in early 2018.

Visitors can expect demonstrations of biometric security systems that can lock or unlock homes with facial recognition, a smart EcoHub that monitors and potentially lowers energy usage, connected cameras to remotely monitor children, pets, or plants, and more.

During a press conference, Telus director of business strategy development Leigh Tynan thanked Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor.

“Without the support of the municipality, this is often a longer, more drawn out process,” said Tynan.

As part of its network upgrades, Telus is gradually introducing fibre optic cabling into communities across the province, beginning with smaller communities before rolling out to larger ones to sort out any initial problems. While it does not replace the existing copper network, which is still required for residential phone service, the fibre network significantly increases the maximum potential transfer speed.

For communities already equipped with fibre, all Telus home Internet traffic is already on the new cables, but the maximum speed depends on the customer plan. After the main cabling is installed on the street, homeowners may be asked by Telus installers for permission to install the last wire from the pole to the home and complete the installation, which comes at no cost to homeowner or obligation to upgrade to faster speeds.

The faster network has benefits beyond smoother video streams. The new fibre network also decreases gaps in cell coverage, as mobile data traffic can be received through small antennas and downloaded onto the fibre optic network rather than travelling between large cell towers. Business owners with online storefronts or clients abroad can also take advantage of higher speeds.

Customers are asked to look online to see if fibre optic is available in their neighbourhood.