By Chris Marchand
Dryden’s Internet users were tantalized last week by Tbaytel’s announcement that it will offer local customers access to a new fibre-optic network in about a year’s time.
Fibre-optic networks offer advantages in the speed in which they can move data, significantly outperforming traditional cable or phone-based internet connections by factors of 10-20 times — an attractive option for many as home entertainment, gaming and communications platforms move increasingly to the Internet.
Tbaytel President and CEO Dan Toptigh appeared at Dryden City Hall, March 22 to talk about the partnership with the City of Dryden and Oshtugon Computers that will see the network built over the next 12 months within Dryden’s traditional urban boundaries.
“The engineering is already underway,” says Toptigh. “We have a typical northern Ontario build/construction season which will start around May which will allow us to bring in all the technology and do the connectivity. We’re looking to have a soft launch very late in the year and then being in customers’ homes around the early part of 2019.”
Tbaytel recently completed a fibre network project in Fort Frances and is now offering packages and bundled services including Internet, home phone, TV and security services.
“What you experience today are speeds that are more typical of the past couple of decades, but really we’re building a network that’s going to be future-proof — really unlimited bandwidth for the residents of Dryden. I think what you’re starting to see in the home today are multiple units being connected to a broadband network. It really gives a larger pipe to do whatever you want.”
Oshtugon Computers, which currently acts as a sales hub for Tbaytel’s mobility products will act as the local storefront service provider for Tbaytel’s future local fibre network offerings. The store, at Golden Mile Plaza, will undergo a few renovations to accommodate the new services.
Dryden City Councillor Martin MacKinnon says the establishment of a fibre network means more than faster gaming and uninterrupted Netflix — he says it’s important infrastructure and a tool for economic development.
“When businesses want to come here they ask us, ‘do you have this capability?’. Right now we say, ‘we don’t,” said MacKinnon. “It costs us some time in the engineering department, but as far as I know we haven’t put a whole lot of money, other than our resources into it. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring something that the city desperately needs in a relatively cheap manner. Here’s a company that’s willing to invest in our community to provide that service.”