• Lorna Hamilton

High-speed Internet Will Soon Be Available To Vermilion


From left, Vermilion’s Manager of Economic Development Mary Lee Prior, Councillor Kevin Martin, Councillor Rob Snow, Vice President of Primus Jim Dawson, Mayor Greg Throndson, CEO of Alberta Broadband Networks Ken Spangler, Councillor Robert Pulyk, Councillor Joshua Rayment, Councillor Paul Conlon, Councillor Kirby Whitlock, and CAO Kevin Lucas. Photo Lorna Hamilton

The day of slow connections, lagging Zoom calls, internet crashes, and freeze-ups will soon be a thing of the past according to the Town of Vermilion, Alberta Broadband Networks, and Primus Telecommunications. The three entities have been in collaboration for the past 18 months and their efforts are almost to fruition as they held a ribbon-cutting celebration on November 1 at the Vermilion Regional Centre that included mayors and dignitaries from surrounding communities; as well as local businesses and academic leaders.

Jim Dawson, Vice President for Primus a division of Distributel attended the celebration and spoke briefly on what broadband means to him and the company.

“Broadband is something very near and dear to my heart. I would like to take a minute to share a bit about the Primus Project that has been made possible through this amazing partnership between Alberta Broadband Networks, Primus, and the Town of Vermilion,” said Dawson. “Bringing one gigabit and greater speeds to Vermilion at rates similar to what’s available in major cities across the country speaks directly to the values at the heart of our company. At Primus, we have long been vocal about our belief in the need for fairness, affordability, and great service in Canada’s telecom industry.”

Dawson went on to say that Vermilion businesses and residents will see a tremendous increase in the availability of new internet speeds on the only end-to-end fiber network in Vermilion and that the services will be viable, scalable, and affordable.

Also on hand at the event were several members of the Alberta Broadband Networks team who have been tasked with implementing the installation of the fibre network infrastructure. German Figueroa, Commercial Director, and Lloyd Linkiewich the Construction Director spoke in depth about the challenges and process of installing such a system and how the fibre network works.

“Broadband services are put out over fibre optics; the service that we will be providing to Vermilion is speeds of up to 10 gigabytes which is kind of new industry non-standard. Typically right now it seems to be 1 gigabyte, there are some 2.5 gigabytes, but we are able to provide 5 gigabytes and 10 gigabytes which is pretty substantial, more so not necessarily for the average home user,” explained Linkiewich.

He went on to say that the average home user generally only needs 1 gigabyte, but for businesses that are transmitting larger files or any sort of digital imagery larger gigabytes are a must. He also mentioned that the fibre network is a very secure service that is not as easily tappable as it was back in the copper days, so security is much higher.

Linkiewich explained that the technology Alberta Broadband Networks is using is called horizontal directional drilling which allows them to install the system under streets, sidewalks, and driveways that causes very minimal disturbance to people’s yards or the public land in which their conduits for the fibre network is installed. He also mentioned that they utilized the local company Pentagon Energy Services for its Hydro Vac Services.

Figueroa commented that the most expensive part about installing the service for a community is getting it in the ground.

“Once the infrastructure is in place there are unlimited possibilities, the biggest challenges are getting the conduit in the ground and the fibre in the conduit, but once you are there it is unlimited. If you are interested in getting the service to your house or business you just have to sign up with Primus and request what we call a service drop, and after that Primus will get in touch with you and find out what kind of service you want. They are offering a number of different levels, and soon they will be offering television and phone as well,” explained Figueroa.

Both gentlemen noted that back in the day internet and high speed were a luxury that only the rich and famous could afford but today it is needed by all individuals.

“It is no different than your water, it’s no different than your power, everyone needs high speed. COVID proved that to the world. The pipe as we call it is the size of a strand of hair, but it’s the size of this room, that’s how much data can go through it. It is mind-blowing. When you build a reliable fibre infrastructure in a small community it allows businesses to stay in the community, we found that in other areas in Canada, for example, small businesses had to move out because they couldn’t upload data, they couldn’t upload pictures and they couldn’t upload medical information. Once you provide fibre optic infrastructure it opens everything up for everyone,” they commented.

Town of Vermilion Mayor, Greg Throndson noted that he and the council are very excited to provide a broadband fibre solution to the community.

“The administration before us started this project, and I am excited that our administration has worked tirelessly to turn this project into a reality, and we thank them for it. Through Alberta Broadband Networks, we are the first rural community in Alberta to provide our residents and businesses with a fibre solution of these speeds, which will bring Vermilion tremendous opportunities for future investment and growth,” explains Mayor Throndson.

A press release stated that, “While bringing broadband to small towns and rural areas is a major challenge—financially, logistically, politically—the Town of Vermilion was determined to tackle the challenge head-on. The town’s efforts are part of a growing trend, grown out of neglect of smaller communities taking the need for broadband services into their own hands.”

“We are committed to keeping our community growing and thriving,” says Mary Lee Prior, Vermilion’s Manager of Economic Development. “We know that in order to attract investors, developers and entrepreneurs, retain local businesses, support existing residents and encourage new ones to move in, we have to solve our broadband issue.”

If you are interested in learning more about the new broadband service coming to Vermilion you can visit primus.ca/vermilion.

Alberta Broadband Networks

Alberta Broadband Networks is building fibre networks in local communities (Vermilion) to help ensure that every resident has access to a high speed internet connection on the principle of bridging the digital divide and everyone’s right to fibre based internet access as a utility. Our deployment will see us route fibre infrastructure through several Alberta communities over the next five years. We are very excited to partner with the Town of Vermilion to bring this exciting new High Speed Utility infrastructure that will make Vermilion one of the most connected communities in Rural Alberta. Alberta Broadband Networks is making a significant investment locally through the development, engineering, construction and operation of fibre networks. For further information, please visit Alberta Broadband Networks.

About Primus

Primus is a national, award-winning, independent communications provider offering a wide range of consumer, business and wholesale communications services. In 2021, Primus was proud to join Distributel Communications, a certified Great Place to Work® known for its progressive, collaborative workplace. 100% Canadian-owned, with offices across the country and a national network. Primus is focused on doing what’s right for Canadians—providing choice, value, fairness and accessibility to the country’s telecom industry. Primus offers high speed internet, TV, mobile and home phone services through its consumer brands. It delivers business solutions as a provider of advanced voice and data offerings for the SMB and Enterprise markets throughout Canada. The company also forges new partnerships and brings innovative services to the wholesale market. For more information, visit wwwprimus.ca.

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