A race is underway in Sudbury — and the finish line is at people's computers.

Internet providers are competing to bring customers a new service called fibre-to-the-home that will allow them to watch high definition channels while downloading a movie and making Skype calls with friends.

This race involves everyone from national cable giants like Bell and more local service providers like Eastlink and Vianet.

"It's one of the last frontiers," said Luc Roy, chief information officer at Laurentian University. "You want to be the first to provide fibre."

Roy noted Sudbury has long had fibre optic lines, but now some companies are spending money to bring those lines into individual homes.

"We used to call it fibre to the curb," he said.

'What you're getting for your money is way up.' —Luc Roy, Laurentian University Chief Information Officer

"But now you are going from the curb to the residential area and that's why there is a race on."

Each company wants to be the first to reach a neighbourhood with the hope that the service will attract customers who want higher bandwidth capability that will translate into faster uploads and downloads and less congestion online.

But Roy said he doesn’t expect this competition will bring down the service’s price.

"Your bill probably isn't going to go down, unfortunately," he said. "But what you are getting for your money is way up."

Fibre-to-the-home is already available in some Sudbury neighbourhoods through Bell and Vianet. Eastlink has reported it has the largest fibre optic network in the region, but said it uses a different technology from curb to home.