It's been news Valley Fiber executives have been sitting on pins and needles for over the past year, and Tuesday the news they wanted to hear was made official.
The Winkler based technology firm received a $10.3 million grant through Canada’s Connect to Innovate Program. The announcement was made in Winnipeg by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, science, and economic development.
Valley Fiber CEO, Hank Wall said the money will support fiber optic infrastructure as a core, bringing it through villages, and surrounding communities.
"The whole core concept has been to make Winkler the centre of this next economic boom," said Wall. "For the first time ever we're going to have the fastest high speed in the world being offered in Winkler, Manitoba. That (the $10.3 million) will also allow us to expand to the communities around, so this is an amazing day and amazing announcement. We're extremely happy that Industry Canada is willing to partner with us to keep on innovating this industry and have this economic development happen in the region."
Wall said their primary goal is to see what they're doing in Winkler expand throughout the region, however, the exact scope and scale of what that will look like is still to be determined. He noted, "fiber to the farm will be a very big reality."
Vice President of Operations for Valley Fiber, Conley Kehler, said they will release the proposed core fiber deployment once a more detailed discussion with the department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development out of Ottawa happens. Kehler said the proposed communities are all within South Central Manitoba.
During the announcement Tuesday in Winnipeg, Minister Bains said high-speed internet access is not only a luxury anymore, it is a utility.
Wall said there are many companies in the world that are afraid to innovate, either due to a lack of vision, or the inability to do so. "That's what we go to work for every day." Wall said with the technology they are installing here in Winkler, will soon become the industry standard.