A future of fully-connected, smart homes may not be far off with a fibre optic network coming to Okotoks by the end of the year.
TELUS announced the launch of its Pure Fibre network on March 12. Construction of the infrastructure is set to begin in the spring, with a target to have 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Okotoks connected to the advanced broadband system by the end of 2018.
Anthony Barnfather, general manager of TELUS, said the $35 million project is part of a $4.2 billion commitment to bring infrastructure and facilities to communities throughout the province.
“This network construction project will come at no cost to residents or businesses here in Okotoks, and should increase property values and create a great boost to the local economy,” said Barnfather. “TELUS Pure Fibre sets the community up for long-term success. It provides the support to meet our technology demands that continue to grow into the future.”
He said the network will be gigabyte-enabled, meaning that while initial upload and download speeds will be 150 megabytes per second, the network will support future expansion of technological demands and eventually allow for upload and download speeds of one gigabyte per second.
It will be nearly seven times faster than Internet connections available today, said Barnfather.
“The network we’re building today is designed to keep pace with our technology offerings and the faster and faster connections that are required,” he said.
To showcase its vision of the future with fibre optic technology, TELUS has bought its Future Home to the Okotoks Recreation centre parking lot this week. The home features facial recognition entry systems, an intelligent kitchen with smart appliances like an interactive conduction stovetop and countertops equipped with UV sanitization, and home health monitoring with results that can be sent to a health care provider.
The “house” also includes an interactive office area, a home gym system complete with virtual personal trainer, art walls that can be changed to display photos or video in full HD, and an entertainment area with a 72” curved television and virtual reality headsets.
The Future Home is open to public tours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day through March 15. It is located in the northwest corner of the parking lot at the Okotoks Recreation Centre.
Barnfather said the fibre optic network also allows for equivalent upload and download speeds to accommodate data sharing. The ‘symmetrical Internet’ will allow for wider use of applications like video conferencing, gaming, home security, connected homes, retail and health care diagnostics, he said.
Having world-class Internet service will propel Okotoks to the forefront of the digital economy, said Barnfather.
“Communities want to attract new residents, new businesses, and TELUS Pure Fibre is a key driver in promoting Okotoks as a great place to live and a great place to work as well,” said Barnfather. “It allows businesses to take advantage of telecommuting, cloud computing, and it’s going to help diversify the economy here, create jobs, and help retain some of the skilled workers who live here.”
Mayor Bill Robertson said the Pure Fibre network mans great things are on the horizon for Okotoks.
“Taking advantage of this technology is more than just convenience,” said Robertson. “It will allow our residents and business owners and operators to better access information, offer services, and create opportunities that may not otherwise be possible.
“Having access to state-of-the-art technology is an essential strategy to encourage local innovation and to attract businesses to Okotoks.”