Winkler, Manitoba could soon have some of the fastest internet in Canada

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The City of Winkler in Manitoba is investing in infrastructure to improve its internet services.

Winkler currently suffers from inadequate internet services, as many rural communities across Canada do. However, with these upgrades, the average speed will go from 5Mb/s to 1000Mb/s.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the city has grown by 18 percent since the last census, making it one of the fastest expanding cities in Manitoba. The city is paying $500,000 to telecommunications firm Valley Fiber to connect every public building, and will donate 1.5 acres to build the company’s headquarters and data centre. The money will come from the City’s reserve funds and will not result in a tax hike.

In return for these services, Valley Fiber will install infrastructure in every house and building not owned by the city for free. There are approximately 5,000 buildings in Winkler and the rollout is predicted to be completed in approximately three years, Winkler Mayor Martin Harder told the Winnipeg Free Press. Valley Fiber says it needs $15 million, but can proceed with the project with $10 million. Local investors have been given the first opportunity to invest in the project.

Due to Winkler’s relatively small population of 15,000, Valley Fiber CEO Hank Wall believes that the project is feasible, according to his interview with the Free Press. He also mentions that Winnipeg would be more difficult to upgrade because it already has so much network infrastructure.

According to research from the firm, the average Winnipeg household shares the line that powers its internet services with dozens of other homes in the surrounding area, which can result in inadequate services when many households are accessing the internet on the same line.

With this investment in infrastructure, the average Winkler home will now have its own dedicated line Gigabit line.

Valley Fiber reportedly plans to eventually extend the service to the entire Pembina Valley, which includes Altona, Morden and Carman, in the future.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently ruled that broadband internet access is a basic telecommunications service for all Canadians. The regulatory body also set specific speed targets, while creating a new fund that aims to invest up to $750 million CAD over a five-year period on top of current government internet related programs, in order to reach this mark.

To meet this lofty new goal, major telecom providers, including Rogers, Bell and Telus, are required to contribute to the fund. The legislative mandate cites 50mbps download and 10mbps upload as the new universal objective for fixed broadband access in Canada.

1000mb/s internet, sometimes referred to as Gigabit, is offered in many of Canada’s major cities, including Toronto and Vancouver.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press