TekSavvy to bring its own fibre network to C-K

Jul 24 • Business, Feature Story6 Comments on TekSavvy to bring its own fibre network to C-K

Fibre optic cable lights up with information. Such cable could cover much of Chatham-Kent and southwestern Ontario in a web in the coming years, if local wardens and mayors get their way.

And then there were two.

That’s the number of Internet service providers who are installing kilometres of fibre optic cable in Chatham-Kent. Homegrown TekSavvy has shovels in the ground, joining Bell Canada running fibre in the municipality.

TekSavvy, like Bell, is working with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to develop a high-speed fibre broadband network here. TekSavvy plans to connect more than 38,000 residences and businesses in the region, starting in Chatham with plans to expand to Blenheim, Ridgetown, Tilbury, and Wallaceburg.

For the past two decades, TekSavvy, Canada’s largest independent Internet service provider, has provided Canadians with telecom services. The company is headquarted here in Chatham.

Marc Gaudrault, CEO of TekSavvy, said planning for this began more than 18 months ago, and work is underway.

“We already have built out some fibre. We had our first fibre-to-the-home customer lit up back in December. The first business was lit up a couple of months ago,” he said. “We’ll have a number of additional homes coming online in the next couple of months, and the bulk of the work will be completed in the next 12 to 18 months.”

TekSavvy intends to invest up to $26 million over 18 months in the development of its fibre network.

The municipality intends to invest $6.5 million to facilitate an open-access fibre backbone connecting communities in Chatham-Kent.

Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire said he is heartened that this local company is working with the municipality in its goal to bring advanced communications services to the community.

As to why lay fibre optic cable in Chatham-Kent, Gaudrault said the idea makes sense.

“We’ve been here for 20 years. It’s our head office. We’ve had hundreds of employees here for a long time. It just makes sense for us to lay fibre in Chatham,” he said.

While Bell announced in May it will lay more than 270 kilometres of fibre cable, Gaudrault said TekSavvy will lay its own rather than seek to piggyback off the Bell cable.

“We’re laying our own fibre. We’ve had this in the works for more than a year and a half,” he said. “We have roughly 100 businesses that we have connected fibre to and I think 100 homes. We have another 1,100 in the works over the next few months.”

Gaudrault added the improved Internet connections are good news for all facets of life, for homes and businesses.

“Bringing ultra high-speed Internet to Chatham-Kent will help transform C-K as a whole. As a father, for my daughters, they’re growing up here. We need this. This is where the world is going,” he said. “As a business owner, we serve the majority of customers from Chatham, so it’s needed.”

Gaudrault believes the fibre system, which will offer speeds of up to 1 Gbps, will also draw families and businesses to the municipality.
“It’s attractive to businesses knowing they have access to the fastest onramp there is. It’s pretty incredible,” he said. “It’s part of what goes into a strong, sustainable community.”

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6 Responses to TekSavvy to bring its own fibre network to C-K

  1. T Gillier says:

    Any chance fibre gets into the rural areas of C-K, or is it just the towns and cities that already have multiple broadband options? Farmers stuck with dialup or oversubscribed wireless repeater towers always get overlooked when it comes to *true* broadband connections. It’s ridiculous we never get services, yet farmers are one of the biggest sources of revenue in the C-K area. It’s time that broadband internet connections are an available service to all that wants it in C-K, not just the already serviced urban areas. If there’s money available from government to provide real broadband service to the rural areas of the province, why is it only being allocated to provide service to people that already have dsl or cable internet options? FYI we don’t consider cell data a broadband internet source when they market it by the megabyte.

    • It all comes down to financial feasibility for the companies. Unfortunately, population density factors into it. That’s why the bigger urban centres always get things such as fibre optics and faster Internet connections first.

      • T Gillier says:

        I’m OK with urban centres being first for a service, I’m ticked that being rural usually means *never* for a requested level of service. There are rural people in C-K that are still stuck with *party line* phone service at their rural homes because Bell says they don’t have enough pots lines.

  2. Rob D. says:

    So now we have two companies laying fibre in the same area? Hopefully they can get together on this and increase the coverage area rather than running duplicate fibres to the same neighborhoods. Hopefully council will get more involved to expand the reach of this project, so that the rural areas aren’t excluded.

  3. ho hardy says:

    sure hope there is not a repeat of the Bad Stuff we have gone thru with Bell?

  4. Jim Desveaux says:

    Just a waste of money tax payers should be freaking out obsolete technology will be replaced by 5 G by next year

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