One source has been local school division’s that have had fibre-optic cable connecting their individual schools throughout their region. As is often the case, there is much more fibre-optic cable available than is needed by an individual user or entity, resulting in “dark fibre” or unused fibre. In the past several years some school divisions have partnered with local internet providers to allow them to use this otherwise unused fibre-optic cable that runs to their schools to provide service to homes in those communities. This has been a win-win partnership in that it benefits the community and can provide additional resources for the Division depending on the nature of the agreement.
The announcement follows the province releasing a tender in May 2020 for a company to use the existing “dark fibre” network to bring connectivity to underserved communities.
The thousands of kilometres of the network was first built to connect remote Manitoba Hydro generating stations and work camps but is now unused.
Central Services Minister and Brandon West Progressive Conservative MLA Reg Helwer said allowing Xplornet to use the existing dark fibre network significantly reduces the cost of bringing high-speed internet access to communities and speeds up the process. Doing so doesn’t cost the province any money, he said.