New Westminster installs new connection

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

BridgeNet, an improved broadband, is coming soon to community

By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor

The city of New Westminster has started construction on a new high-speed fibre-optic network by the name of BridgeNet.

BridgeNet, upon the first stages of its completion in summer 2016, will connect different commercial zones together. Sapperton, uptown, and downtown are slated to be connected to the new network first, while the west side and Queensborough are expected to join the network in 2017.

The new network is expected to have positive impacts on the New Westminster economy and employment, particularly in the knowledge sector. It will also create some non-taxable revenue sources, which would contribute to the city budget.

Businesses will be able to subscribe to the network, which will be available at a price competitive to that of other networks. There will also be the option to bundle BridgeNet with another telecommunication internet service provider.

If the results of BridgeNet go as planned, New Westminster will be better equipped to attract new businesses in commercial centres of the city.

In addition to commercial development, the new network will supposedly increase the city’s status as a health hub, bringing on new investments within and around Royal Columbian Hospital.

Educational institutes around the city will also be positively impacted by the network. Douglas College’s New Westminster campus will receive access to the network, along with the Justice Institute of BC and the New Westminster School District.

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote views BridgeNet as an opportunity to reshape how the city contributes to the metro economy. While New Westminster has traditionally contributed through the use of industry and warehouse, the new broadband will allow the city to expand into new horizons.

“We feel this is New Westminster’s opportunity to reposition ourselves to make sure we continue to be a player in Metro Vancouver’s growing economy,” Cote told the New Westminster Record.

Alvin Chok, the chief information officer for the city, adds on to Cote, telling the Record: “It influences the economic development, the investors, the people who want to come and live and work here. The younger generation wants to have high-speed Internet access anywhere in the city.”

The network idea first began to gain traction as part of the Intelligent City Plan, which has been under development for the past several years. The Intelligent City Plan continues on the hopes the New Westminster will become less industrial and further geared towards innovation and marketing.

BridgeNet is expected to cost $5.5 million overall, yet is expected to gain a return of $16.8 million over the next 30 years.

“We are already getting people knocking on our door wanting to hook up,” said City Counsellor Bill Harper to the Record. “I think it’s a good brand. … BridgeNet is really clear. We are a bridge to the future and it’s all about the Internet.”