LTE service is coming to Tumbler Ridge

Trent Ernst, Editor
 

 
What would you say if your cell phone speeds were faster than your home internet speeds?
 
With a top speed of 75 Mbps (that’s three times as fast as the fastest DSL service offered in town, Telus’s is rolling out LTE service to Tumbler Ridge. 
 
While LTE has a theoretical max speed of 75 Mbps, Telus says the average speed will be close to 12-25 Mbps.
 
“Telus is committed to providing the best service to our customers, and that includes bringing the fastest wireless technology available in the world today to the growing community in Tumbler Ridge,” said Chris Jensen, Telus General Manager for Northern BC “Using a 4G LTE device such as the Samsung Galaxy S III or Note II, customers in Tumbler Ridge will have the fastest wireless internet at their fingertips, wherever they go with their mobile device. By the end of the year, Telus will have brought this lightning-fast wireless connection to more than 80 percent of BC residents, including those in some of our rural communities. It’s quite the undertaking.”
 
LTE arriving in Tumbler Ridge marks a sea change in technology for this backwoods town. The first LTE service was rolled out in Oslo and Stockholm in December, 2009, three years ago. The first LTE network came to North America the next year, and Telus only started offering the service in February of this year, ten months ago. 
 
Compare that to DSL, which hit town this summer, 24 years after it was first introduced to the rest of the world, or cellular service, which came to town 25 years after it was first commercially available. 
 
According to Jensen, Telus has invested $235,000 to bring LTE to customers in Tumbler Ridge, B.C. Called 4G LTE, the new technology offers internet speeds two to three times faster than the HSPA+ technology available today. 
 
According to Telus Spokesperson Shawn Hall, “LTE is live now, or will be in the next day or two.”
 
Hall says Telus made the switch to HSPA+ in 2009. Now, three years later, it is making the leap to LTE. “LTE is about two or three times faster than HSPA. It’s remarkable,” says Hall. 
Hall says that over the last few months, technicians have been going across the province. “We need to visit each wireless site and put on additional hardware. We have to physically add infrastructure,” says Hall. “We’re working community by community, tower by tower. We’re hoping to see the speeds increase over time, though part of that has to do with our ability to get spectrum action, coming up in the next year.” Hall says that the new, lower spectrum, would improve reliability, especially in rural areas like Tumbler Ridge. Hall says that by the time this issue sees press, they will have LTE service available for more that 80 percent of British Columbians.
 
LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution”, and is considered a fourth generation (4G) technology, though when the standard for 4G was first set, peak speed requirements was 1 Gbit/second. However, in 2010, the International Telecommunications Union-Radio Communications sector (ITU-R) recognized that LTE and it’s chief competitor Wi-MAX could be considered 4G, as they provided a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities.
 
Older model phones do not support the LTE standard, but many of the newer phones do. Current rate plans will apply to all TELUS 4G LTE customers without premium charges.