The future of Internet connectivity in Ponoka is bright with the soon to be complete fibre optic network that Telus is installing.
To celebrate the work done and to show the potential of what a 150 Mbps network can look like, the Telus Future Home made a stop in Ponoka last week. A special announcement was made Wednesday, Aug. 10 with Zainul Mawjie, vice president of marketing and strategy for Telus’ broadband, explaining some of the benefits of the new system.
Telus’ Future Home is partly conceptual but shows the potential of what a connected home can do with fibre optics. From face recognition security scans to a fridge and oven fully integrated with touch screens, the home is designed with the idea that there are no limits.
The goal is to fully implement fibre optics into every community Telus makes an installation. It’s a significant investment with long term returns. For Ponoka alone Telus dropped $12 million to make this happen with fibre optic coming in to the industrial areas sometime this year.
“We call it a generational investment,” said Mawjie.
“We decided about three years ago it was time to make the break.”
Some ideas in the Future Home, however, like video phone meetings with doctors using a secure connection, are a reality and are being tested.
“Where we’re going to be going in the future is all about patient care and putting the patient in the centre of managing their health care,” she explained.
Pilot projects are running now and doctors, who need to share pertinent information to specialists regarding their patient, are able to create secure portals for them. If video conferencing is needed with a patient, that can now happen.
“In a secure, private way that can be facilitated over fibre today and we are piloting that capability with some of our doctors,” said Mawjie.
Drayton Valley is one community where this system is being tested. In British Columbia remote health care management is also being tested. Patients who have just undergone surgery are able to check their heart rates and weight and still have a practitioner to speak with.
“This is a proven result, those patients have less followup hospital visits and emergency visits…It’s really about empowering that patient to be more active in their own care and have access to the services they need,” said Mawjie.
Sky is the limit for health care connectivity, she added, saying there will be ways to help patients with mental health issues allowing them to check in with a doctor remotely.
Fibre optics installation in most of Ponoka is expected to be completed by October with some potential delays in the Southwest Industrial Park due to the winter months coming in.