by John Boivin
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice
An official with the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) says it’s been a productive year for crews installing the $10 million fibre-optic line that will bring high speed internet to the Slocan Valley.
“Approximately 90 per cent of the civil work has been completed,” says Delphi Hoodicoff. “Installation has been progressing smoothly.”
That includes installing conduit and laying fibre-optic cable, on the rail trail, and in Slocan and Summit Lakes. Hoodicoff said they’ve also completed approximately 50 per cent on the Hills to Nakusp segment.
Submarine fibre-optic cable installation was completed in both Slocan and Summit Lakes this fall.
Construction work began earlier this summer on the $10-million project, which will see a 120-kilometre fibre line installed from Playmor Junction in the south to a few kilometres past Nakusp.
Work will continue throughout the winter, Hoodicoff said.
“We will use the winter months to work on installations inside the communication shelters,” she told the Valley Voice. “This will include terminating the cables, adding the equipment, provisioning the electronics, and testing.”
Workers will pick up with the in-ground installation when the ground thaws in spring.
Meanwhile, Hoodicoff said officials are still waiting to hear if they’ll receive funding to add several other communities to the fibre-optic line. The CBBC applied for funding in March to build a 70-km spur line from Nakusp down the Arrow Lakes to Burton and Edgewood. It’s part of the CBBC’s overall project to connect 79 rural communities with high-speed service.
They’re also waiting to hear the results of their application for funding from the Universal Broadband Fund, and whether some communities qualify for federal support for better internet access. The CBBC had asked residents of Slocan, New Denver, and other communities for information about their internet speeds in an effort to build support for their application.