Fiber to The Home Provides Reliable Solutions for Remote Communities
The views are spectacular and the nature is amazing, but until recently if you were a member of the Saulteau First Nations in Moberly Lake, BC, you had a hard time connecting to the internet and no cellular coverage. The Band had been relying on satellite internet service but were finding it slow, expensive and unreliable. This small community of about 200 people is located 100km southwest of Fort St. John and 10km from Chetwynd, at the east end of Moberly Lake. Without a reliable means of communication, the Band council began considering their options for a way forward.
When TLC Solutions was hired, the Band was seriously thinking about going with wireless technology. However, after conducting a thorough assessment, the team from TLC recommended implementing their Fiber To The Home (FTTH) service because of its long-term reliability and high bandwidths. “We were able to explain the advantages of fiber optic technology over wireless and they understood how it would serve them well for many years to come,” explains Seungbum Yoo, President and CEO of TLC Solutions.
This was a big undertaking involving eight months of planning capped by a Band Council Resolution approval, followed by five months of implementation. A small team from TLC went to Moberly Lake to work with 40 local people who were hired by the Band’s new company, SFN Fiber, to install the cables and create a strong network infrastructure. Creating the company provided a solid opportunity to train skilled workers, offer employment to local Band members and generate revenue as well.
SFN Fiber is 100% owned and operated by the Saulteau First Nations and has become a valuable business asset. TLC’s experts trained the company’s staff how to build, splice and troubleshoot the system which is now providing 1,000Mbps (Gigabit internet) service to home and businesses; faster than most homes in Metro Vancouver can get. The cost to residents is also about one third of what it would be in Vancouver, with SFN Fiber offering different pricing packages to residents. The service is so appealing that some people who had moved to Chetwynd or other larger, nearby communities are now moving back because communication services are better in Moberly Lake. Saulteau First Nations Chief Nathan Parenteau says, “TLC really made a huge difference for us in so many ways. Internet service is amazing and reliable, and life in Moberly Lake has changed in positive ways.”
Fiber optic cables are common in the communications industry because digital information can be converted to light pulses, which then travel along the cables. This allows information to travel at high speeds and provides a reliable, durable and secure option. In addition, fiber optics cost less to maintain than traditional cable options and there is less networking hardware to operate the system, meaning less downtime for repairs.
TLC Solutions is proud to have partnered with the Saulteau First Nations for this project that gives them autonomy in determining and managing their communications infrastructure. It offers a great example of how, with the right expertise and technology, remote communities can find practical and proven solutions to connect with the world today and be poised to expand as needed for the future.