From Wire Pairs to Fibre Optic Cable

Winnipeggers were treated to somewhat of a surprise on March 2, 2020, when Bell MTS announced a major investment to replace the considerable copper wire throughout their city with fibre optics.

A $400 million investment was announced on that day. This was part of an earlier commitment made by Bell when it purchased MTS in 2017. So, this announcement may not have been a complete surprise for all, as some significant events would have been expected.

The use of the landline has decreased considerably over the past decade and now in most homes and businesses the twisted wire pairs are no longer being used for phone services. Rather POTS* phones have been replaced with cell phones! Businesses too have made changes affecting their old landlines. Many businesses have disconnected from their landlines and have given their staff cell phones.  In some organizations though, the twisted wire pairs are still in place and people still have desk phones positioned at their workstation.

Where twisted wire pairs are still in full form are for Internet services to the home. Here the internet is often being delivered by DSL.  In these situations, DSL uses the twisted wire pairs to deliver digital signals. So, the twisted wire pairs have had a repurposed use, and for some time. Fibre Optic Cable will now change all that as fibre technology can upload and download about 160 times more! 

For about 275,000 homes and businesses these new fibre optic services are coming. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is getting fibre optic services.  Winnipeg has almost 300,000 homes, added to that are thousands of companies that operate with a storefront shingle and need internet services to process their orders, perform their transactions and conduct other business matters.  Some areas of the city may not be to be serviced under this plan, but as the five-year implementation proceeds, perhaps new ways of solving old problems such as closing the “last mile“ gap will be possible.

One alternative as the last mile implementation

Going to fibre optic on the scale that is proposed will enable 5G networks to be eventually deployed as fibre optics have tremendous capacity compared to copper cable systems. Winnipeggers are not quite ready for this yet as their phones are still 4G. So there will be other transitions coming for users, such as getting upgraded phones. Nevertheless, the next generation of phones will be 5G capable.

Winnipeg’s pursuit of being a Smart City will greatly be enabled with the deployment of this fibre optic technology. Better data collection systems will be possible to support decision making for Health, Environment, Transit, Transportation, Community Safety and Energy Management. (and others too!)

To the New Media Businesses in the downtown who wish to build their GPU** Servers. Well, you will now have all the data capacity coming to you, what is needed next is to convince the electrical utility to upgrade the power supply to the area, so that you can now power those large servers!

The complete story about this announcement is found at the following link:

Acronyms used in this blog post:

* POTS:  Plain Old Telephone Service

**GPU: Graphics Processing Unit