For the last five years every time staff from the City of New Westminster digs up a road, crews install fibre optic conduit in preparation to launch BridgeNet, an open-access fibre network that hopes to bring greater internet access to the Royal City.
New Westminster City Councillor Bill Harper said the city is in the business of pushing the internet to the community.
“Our economy is shifting from basically the old industrial model to the new digital innovation model,” Harper said.
For the high-tech sector in New Westminster, the lack of consistent high-speed internet has been an issue.
CG Masters, a school training artists in digital animation and visual effects, hopes that BridgeNet will mean better access and lower costs.
Nicholas Boughen of CG Masters said they are in a “service business and we have to be able to connect to places like Los Angeles, Montreal and New York and we have to be able to transfer terabytes of data.”
New Westminster has been forced into the project because the large telecoms haven’t been upgrading fast enough. For many, high-speed internet is now just as much a basic utility as sewer and water.
Four internet service providers have already signed on to lease space on BridgeNet. New Westminster hopes to pay off its $9-million investment in just a decade.
The city said BridgeNet will be up and running by August.
– With files from Aaron McArthur