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Valley Fiber on track to "light up" city

Lauren MacGill

General manager Conley Kehler, CEO Hank Wall and director of sales Doug Rempel are ready to "light up" Winkler. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

General manager Conley Kehler, CEO Hank Wall and director of sales Doug Rempel are ready to "light up" Winkler. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

WINKLER - 

Valley Fiber’s quest to hook Winkler up with the fastest speeds in Canada is on track.

“Thanks to a wonderful construction season we’ve been able to put a lot of conduit in the ground,” Valley Fiber general manager Conley Kehler said. “News from the farming community is that there have been bumper crops. We’ve also planted a bumper crop, which will continue to be a place for growth for years to come.”

Valley Fiber is unique in that each home and business will be linked to their main location by its own strand of fiber cable. “It’s scalable, it’s reliable and it’s fast,” Kehler said.

Kehler added that the “dedicated fiber build” will allow the City of Winkler and Winkler and District Chamber of Commerce to start selling the city as a place for businesses to start and thrive.

Kehler said the biggest question they receive is when the fiber is coming to different areas. “We’re close to completion of the city build,” he said. “As we’re doing that we’re also hooking up residents."

The fiber started in Rosebrook, just north of Winkler, and they are already lit up and using the service. CEO Hank Wall said speeds have been consistently what they advertised.

“Even though you see some of the tests say 983 mbps, the actual port speed is locked at 1,000,” he said. “It’s maxing itself right out. The reality is if we wanted to it could be 10,000 mbps tomorrow, it could be 100,000 after that. We’re starting at 1,000.”

Over 2,300 people have already signed up for Valley Fiber. The goal is to have at least 600 homes live by Christmas.

“It’s very interesting hearing what coffee shop talk is like,” Wall said. “You know, where is the internet coming from, [there’s] a lot of misnomers out there.”

Kehler said they hope to finish setting up north of Walmart in about 3 to 4 weeks, which will add around 100 customers. While that continues, Valley Fiber is building infrastructure south of Highway 14 and north of the railroad tracks.

“For many users in the northern part of the city we’d like to install the fiber and hook up the router even before we’re ready to light it up,” Kehler said. “It’s like putting this awesome new car in your garage but not giving you the keys for the next 6 to 10 weeks. When we’re ready to light up from this building, those customers will all be lit up right away.”

Valley Fiber has no intention of stopping when the snow starts falling. Construction will continue into the south part of Winkler in spring.

Valley Fiber’s central office has started going up on Boundary Trail, just east of DJ’s restaurant. The building is where all the fiber strands return to.

“Not only will this be our central office, this is also going to become the core location [for] anybody looking to secure their information,” Wall said. “We are building a bunker. This will be the first building of its kind anywhere outside of Winnipeg.”

The bunker is made of concrete walls and roof and have multiple layers of security and power sources to keep information safe.

Wall said the feedback they have received from the technology community about their product and method has been “astounding.”

“We’re doing this so differently,” he said. “Instead of taking a technology and limiting what it can do, we’re busting the doors wide open. We’re bringing that next generation today. I’m very happy to say that Winkler is becoming a technological hub.”

Kehler urges residents to sign up before crews leave the area. For more information or to sign up visit valleyfiber.ca