Construction on Xplornet towers continues

Service to customers expected to be available in late March

MANITOULIN—An Xplornet Communications Inc. official says that construction of the towers on Manitoulin, designed to improve both Internet speed and reliability at a fair price as part of a program to deliver more speed and data to rural Canada, will be completed in the next couple of months with services available to customers by late March 2018.

“I can provide a bit of an update,” James Maunder, vice president, public affairs and communications with Xplornet, told the Recorder this past Tuesday. “The sites are under construction on the Island and we expect they will be done by mid to late February.”                                                                                                                                               “So it is just a matter of weeks before the conductor towers are in place and complete, and services will be available probably in late March,” said Mr. Maunder. He noted, “the reason for the time gap, when the towers are complete and the services are available to customers, is that once the sites are complete we have to acquire fibre network services capability from a provider. At this point I don’t know who the provider will be but it will take time to negotiate rates and the circuit to be used.”

The Xplornet project for Manitoulin will include towers being constructed at 10 sites on the Island. “We think with will be terrific news for local residents in terms of the level of service, speed and reliability it will provide to customers. We are focusing on rural, remote places throughout Canada,” said Mr. Maunder.

The 10 sites will be constructed in areas from Little Current south to Meldrum Bay, and one located at Whitefish Falls. There will be a total of 73 tower sites in total in the North, with a large portion in Northern Ontario in place all the way up to Timmins.

In December 2016 Xplornet announced liftoff of EchoStar XIX, the world’s largest commercial satellite, delivering more speed and more data to rural Canada. The new satellite program tripled the company’s satellite internet capacity.

Soon after the company announced the successful liftoff of ViaSat 2, the highest capacity communications ever launched, Mr. Maunder told the Recorder. “This was launched with a partner in California, and was launched in the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.” Visa-Sat 2 is one half of Xplornet’s new satellite broadband program, which triples Xplornet’s current satellite Internet capacity. Xplornet is the exclusive Canadian residential provider on two satellites, the two highest capacity broadband satellites ever launched.

Once in commercial this year, ViaSat-2 is expected to deliver more speed and data at affordable prices for Xplornet’s customers. Xplornet’s new Internet service will deliver the fastest residential speed offered via satellite in Canada, at up to 25 megabits per second (download).

“The current construction of the towers in the winter is presenting a challenge, but work continues toward completion and making services available for local customers,” added Mr. Maunder.