When it comes to fibre optic technology, Chapleau may be a test for other towns in northeastern Ontario.

The town now has internet service that's comparable in speed to most major cities, thanks to a Sudbury company that began offering fibre-to-home service this week.

The fibre-to-home technology offers an internet connection that's faster than basic fibre optic service.

Chapleau, ON

Dan Regaudie, the director of Broadcast Services at Vianet, said the company wants to see how successful the new service is in Chapleau before expanding further "and then evaluate other locations across northern Ontario to see if they're suitable for this technology."

One problem might be infrastructure, however.   

Regaudie said Vianet would have to secure connections from Sudbury to other communities.

Hydro poles and underground tunnels are needed to carry cable — and industry relies on government to create infrastructure before it moves in.

"And, you generally need a large customer base to justify the expense and maintain it," said Morry Brown, general manager of NetCentral, a not-for-profit network created to bring telecommunications to northern Ontario.

Brown said he remains optimistic, however, as there is already fibre optic cable among communities on the James Bay Coast that could be used for fibre-to-home service.