Plan for fast Internet for all of P.E.I. on track

Improved Internet service for P.E.I. is on track to be available to all Islander by the beginning of 2018.

Xplornet hooked up the first new customers Tuesday

100 per cent of the Island will be have speeds of 25 Mbps available by 2018, says Xplornet. (CBC)

Improved Internet service for P.E.I. is on track to be available to all Islanders by the beginning of 2018.

Xplornet, the company that was contracted by the federal government to provide Internet to around 12,000 households in communities across the Island says things are going smoothly. 

Charles Beaudet, vice-president for Eastern Canada, said the building of the infrastructure needed to offer internet speeds up to 25 Mbps is on track. That infrastructure is 22 towers, and a new satellite.

"In some cases we are co-locating on existing tower, so those are progressing along, and in other cases we need to build a new tower and we've had all the authorization from the land use authority, we have one or two sites that we're still finalizing," he said

Xplornet vice-president Charles Beaudet says there is a list of customers waiting to be hooked up. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"Actually we turned, on the first live tower today [Tuesday], this morning, and installed our first three customers today, and we have a long list of prospective customers who are waiting for us to go do their installation." 

That first tower is in Strathgartney, and the service is only available there for about a 20 km range from the tower. The next tower will go live in a couple of weeks in eastern Kings. There will be a few more over the summer, with the 22 towers to be ready by the end of the fall. Those towers will allow about 75 per cent of the Island to have the fast service. The rest of the households will be brought on board by a new satellite, which will be launched June 1, and come into commercial service by January 2018. 

"So by the end of the year or by January 2018 we will cover 100 per cent of Islanders," said Beaudet

"This is really what sets us apart, because we have the combination of the two networks, we have the LTE which is a fixed wireless network and then we have a in the instance that you are close to the tower but you are hidden..then the satellite will provide you cover." 

The company is taking orders for service now.