By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
One of the largest business deals announced in Durham Region in 2017 faced a few hiccups but is set to move ahead in 2018.
At the end of May, Flashfibr announced it would be investing $400 million over the next four years, in partnership with the city and the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC), to construct a new fibre optic network in Durham Region.
Originally, Flashfibr was aiming to have services available to businesses and institutions by the end of June 2017 and residential services by the end of summer.
However, as the year progressed there was little update on the status of the project.
In an e-mailed statement to The Oshawa Express in December, Flashfibr spokesperson Rania Walker said the company “encountered some unexpected delays, but have moved forward with continued momentum, upgrading our core technology to honour our commitment to provide the most advanced internet services, with a revised launch target of spring 2018.”
Walker says the extended time has allowed Flashfibr “to meet the local business owners and customers to better understand community needs and create a more comprehensive TV line-up and fibre-optic internet services.”
According to Flashfibr CEO Howard Morton, the company plans to install more than 1,000 kilometres of fibre network over the next four years. The network will provide speeds starting at 300 megabits a second, roughly 27 times faster than what currently exists, Morton says.
“Speed is part of the game, but the other part for us is to create reliability to have the most secure Internet access that is supported, developed and comes from the community in Durham Region because we want to create competitive advantage for the region,” Morton says.
Morton says the prices for Flashfibr services will be roughly 30 to 40 per cent less than what residents are paying currently.
At the time of the original announcement, Morton and Oshawa Mayor John Henry noted discussions on the project dated back to 2013.
“The process started about five years ago, but really in the last three-and-a-half years, we’ve been working really hard and have come up with a great partner in FlashFibr and a vision for the region that is going to take us to the next level,” Henry says. “We’re home to four universities and a community college, so what it’ll do for UOIT and Durham College and Trent, what it’ll do for Queen’s and telemedicine…is exciting. For our residents, it means they’ll be able to do big things from home – more quality of life, more family time.”