Originally published by Prince Albert Daily Herald
Author: Michael Joel-Hansen
Wireless users in the Gateway to the North could soon be seeing some improvements in their internet speed on their wireless devices.
SaskTel announced plans to spend 4.3 million dollars to upgrade wireless networks across the province. Along with Prince Albert, North Battleford, Battleford, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Weyburn and Yorkton will also see the networks that serve their cities upgraded.
In a media release, the company said Swift Current will be the first to see upgrades done, which are expected to be completed by October 2. SaskTel expects to have the rest of the upgrades finished by March of next year.
Michelle Englot, the director of external communications for SaskTel, said the Crown-owned corporation plans to add LTE carriers to all of towers that serve the cities. This will mean changes for customers in the select areas, who will see their networks LTE capacity grow from 20 to 100 per cent.
“Consumers will see faster speeds,” she said.
Englot emphasized that wireless network capacity needs to be expanded because the demand for wireless data continues to grow.
This demand she said is primarily driven by the growth of smartphones, where people use wireless data to download apps and stream content. As the network is expanded, users will have more data available to them.
Customers will not see any major increase in their bills as the money to pay for these upgrades is coming out of the company’s capital investment fund.
The company is also looking to expand its overall internet capacity by adding fusion towers, which will give the non-wireless network more capacity.
According to Englot, these upgrades are part of the company’s overall strategy to expand its wireless and LTE footprint. She said SaskTel’s footprint now covers approximately 99 per cent of Saskatchewan including much of the north.
“There are a few northern remote communities, small little pockets of the population (that are not covered),” she said.