By CAROLE ROONEY
November 2, 2011
After a couple of years of fits and starts, many Canim Lake residents now have access to high-speed Internet.
ABC Communications vice-president Falko Kadenbach says his company recently installed the final upgrades to the new service.
"We recently completed our project out there, which is basically to service the majority of the population [at] Canim Lake. We now cover that area with our new 4G LTE network."
Since purchasing the area's main Internet service provider (ISP) BC Wireless/100 Mile Netshop, as well as a smaller ISP previously serving Canim lake and Forest Grove (ComputerSmith), Kadenbach says ABC Communications has been busy upgrading many 100 Mile House area communities.
Network BC partially funded the Canim Lake project for expanded services through its Connecting Communities grant program, which ABC Communications received early last year.
He notes they are allowed two years to use the funds to complete installations, Kadenbach says, adding they are now about 95 per cent depleted.
The new Canim Lake coverage area spans from Eagle Creek across to the Canim Lake Band, he notes.
A few properties on the south bank of Canim Lake remain without coverage, he explains, due to the surrounding terrain interfering with the signal from the new towers.
"We do have plans to cover that area as well - next year."
Kadenbach adds his company has invested more than $500,000 of its own funds in the South Cariboo, since taking over services from the BC Wireless network.
"We've gone through a major rejig of the whole network there. Other areas we have expanded in the 100 Mile area this year include Lac des Roche, Horse Lake, Sheridan Lake, Lone Butte, Bridge Lake and Lac la Hache."
These are all completed projects, other than ongoing maintenance and future upgrades, he says.
"[Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA] Donna Barnett has been a great help to ABC Communications to identify areas that need to be addressed; [those] with poor Internet services in the area."
Through working further with Barnett, local governments and community partners, Kadenbach explains ABC Communications hopes to further expand to build high-speed Internet services into more rural communities around 100 Mile House.
"In Gateway, phase 2 is being worked on, so we have erected a new tower [nearby] and we're working on building a secondary site in Gateway itself."
A Forest Grove site originally secured earlier by ComputerSmith fell through, he notes, after the group responsible for the site reversed its decision.
Now, ABC Communications is actively searching for another suitable location, the vice-president explains, which adds significant time because it requires TELUS to move its fibre-optic cables.
"That certainly did put a bit of a stumbling block in our ability to better service Forest Grove."
All customers taken over from the smaller ISP are receiving free upgrades, while the previous system is being replaced, Kadenbach explains.