The Village of Fraser Lake lies alongside Highway 16 between Vanderhoof and Burns Lake. (Village of Fraser Lake photo)

The Village of Fraser Lake lies alongside Highway 16 between Vanderhoof and Burns Lake. (Village of Fraser Lake photo)

Fibre optic infrastructure be installed in Village of Fraser Lake

“This is an opportunity we could not let pass us by,” said Mayor Sarrah Storey

$2.1 million worth of fiber optic infrastructure will be installed in the Village of Fraser Lake that is home to roughly 1,100 residents.

On Wednesday, Sept. 8, the Village of Fraser Lake mayor and council passed a resolution to enter into an agreement with telecommunications company CityWest to expand their services.

“This has been a coming a long time, and we didn’t think this would happen to be honest,” said Mayor Sarrah Storey, noting the excitement of residents.

Existing broadband service in the community falls short of the federal standard of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds.

More than 80 per cent of businesses located in the municipality indicated in a December 2020 broadband survey that they felt the poor-quality broadband was hindering them from expanding their business to an online format.

“Residents that live in other communities also ask us what our connectivity is like and when they find out what it’s like, they decide to move to other communities,” Storey said, describing the initiative as being vital for economic development and the community as a whole.

“One resident that lives in the regional district said if you get good connectivity in Fraser Lake, I’m moving into Fraser Lake…and I thought that’s really exciting.”

Read More: High-speed internet tests being conducted by Village of Fraser Lake

Residents were asked earlier this summer to conduct connectivity speed tests in their homes and businesses by the village that was awaiting to hear if they would receive federal funds to install a fiber optic network.

The village was able to combine grant funding for their $1.1 million portion of the project resulting in no cost to taxpayers.

Storey said they are awaiting to see if more funding will be made available.

“If the province could give us some funding, we could use that money and do a few other different projects as well,” she said. “In Fraser Lake’s future we have a lot of things that need to be replaced. We have a $100-million infrastructure deficit, and a water tower to replace and other things, so as we do these things we’re always looking towards the next project.”

CityWest is anticipated to begin its first stages of expansion into the community over the next few weeks.

Once completed before the end of November, residents will be able to subscribe to internet services of their choice.

“It was fabulous working with our partners at Fraser Lake because they truly understand the importance of connectivity, and they’re working hard to ensure their community is well-served,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest, in a news release.

“We’re excited to show everyone in Fraser Lake how our amazing employees provide great customer experience while providing them with state-of-the-art technology.”

Read More: Lack of good connectivity puts rural communities at a disadvantage: Vanderhoof Mayor

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Internet and Telecom