Tahltan Fibre, TNDC’s fibre optics company, reached a major milestone with connection of its first industrial customer. We turned up high-speed fibre optic service to AltaGas’ Forrest Kerr run of river hydroelectric project in partnership with Northwestel (NWTel), through our Tahltan River Communications (TRC) joint venture.
The fibre optic technology is providing fast, reliable communications which is enabling AltaGas to monitor the project remotely. The project transitioned from satellite microwave technology, which is more expensive and highly susceptible to connectivity interruptions. While this new fibre optic connection relies on Northwestel’s microwave system in Iskut, by utilizing the TNDC fibre from Iskut to the site, the reduced risk of an additional microwave required to feed the site means less downtime and faster speeds for the client.
Tahltan Fibre uses fibre optic strands run on BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission and Iskut Extension Lines, provided under an agreement with the Tahltan Nation. Last fall, TNDC constructed a 16 km fibre optic cable from the Tatogga Lake Substation to the Northwestel central office in Iskut. TNDC then partnered with Northwestel to access their existing lines to provide the communication services to the Forrest Kerr project.
In order for the region to enjoy the full benefits of fibre optic connectivity, TNDC is in the process of determining the most cost effective, reliable method of connecting the southern end of its fibre to third party fibre networks for connectivity to the internet.
Once we have achieved connectivity in the south, the infrastructure will be in place for internet service providers to explore the feasibility of providing residential, small and medium businesses as well as large industrial and commercial businesses with the same products larger Canadian cities enjoy, such as fibre to the home, online educational services, improved health diagnostics and other important social economic services.
Fibre optic networks provide a vast amount of reliable bandwidth, allowing larger data transmission for a fraction of the cost of satellite microwave service. Although suitable for any terrain, satellite microwave technology requires line of sight between a transmitter and receiver, which is highly susceptible to weather conditions and interrupted service.
The advantages of fibre optic technology will be extremely beneficial to large industrial and commercial clients and TNDC is targeting current developments and proposed future developments within Tahltan territory to offer the services of Tahltan Fibre.
We still face many challenges as we build out our network. Connecting our first large industrial customer is an important first step in the process of providing a new land-based connection to the territory that will ultimately provide reliable and affordable services to all companies and individuals that live in the region.