St. Albert, Alberta, will have to wait for Telus to complete its promised PureFibre expansion

The City's council heard the Huawei ban played a role

One-third of St. Albert, Alberta, still doesn’t have access to Telus’ PureFibre network, despite an initial deadline to complete the project by the end of 2020. According to The Canadian Press, the Huawei ban plays a role in this.

Back in 2019, Telus announced a $100 million investment to expand its PureFibre network to the municipality. But on April 28th, the telecom company informed the City it had paused the expansion in all Alberta communities except in those where they had a municipal partnership, The Canadian Press reports.

Joanne Graham, the city’s director of information technology, told councillors at the May 2nd City Council meeting that the rise in inflation, interest rates, and the government’s Huawei ban all played a role.

The federal government banned Huawei and ZTE from Canada’s 5G network in May 2022. Telus utilized Huawei equipment with its 4G networks.

“They have had to dismantle the Huawei infrastructure on all of their antennas and so primarily we’re seeing pressures on the capital that they had available for all the builds across Alberta,” Graham told council.

Councillor Mike Killick said residents were frustrated that work had stalled. He proposed a now-passed motion for Mayor Cathy Heron to send the company a letter asking them to honour their original expansion plans.

Telus told The Canadian Press it would keep customers updated on the status of the project once they resume it. However, the publication notes Telus didn’t answer specific questions on when it will resume work or how the Huawei ban plays a role.

“Telus has not paused its PureFibre builds in Alberta,” a spokesperson told MobileSyrup.

“We have completed more than two-thirds of our PureFibre build in St. Albert, and are investing more than $7.2 million now through 2027 in network infrastructure, operations and spectrum to support vital network connectivity in the community. We are committed to keeping residents, businesses and our customers updated on the progress of all of our PureFibre builds across the province.”

Telus further said “geography, weather events and supply chain disruptions” all contributed to the delay. A question on how the Huawei ban played a role wasn’t answered.

Updated June 13th, 2023, 6:46pm ET: The article has been updated to clarify two-thirds of the city has access to the network. A statement from Telus has also been included, indicating it’s not pausing its expansion.

Updated June 14th, 2023, 10:20am ET: The article has been updated to include additional details from Telus.

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Source: City of St. Albert/The Canadian Press