Valley Fiber's plan to bring the fastest Internet on the planet to Winkler is breaking ground.
The first of many feet of fiber optic was installed on Friday, laying the groundwork for an eventual city-wide network.
"...the start of the next generation of economic development for the community," Valley Fiber CEO Hank Wall explains.
As a proof of concept, the Rosebrook development North of the city will be first in line for 1,000 mb/s underground fiber optic Internet.
Valley Fiber's Central Office is expected to be finished by July, before expanding service to Winkler residents North of Highway 14 in August.
From there distribution will cross the highway at multiple points and move towards the city's core.
It's the first phase in a larger plan to transform Winkler into a tech powerhouse on the international stage.
Since the news of Valley Fiber's plan has gone national, Wall notes they've heard the question, "why Winkler?"
"We consistently answer, "why not Winkler?" We have the economics, we have the great soil conditions, the great development team, we can do this here."
The world-class data speeds and data storage centre will likely make Winkler an extremely attractive location for tech companies and high-tech jobs.
"We're very happy the local guy will be able to provide the best service," he says.
Seeing the potential, the City of Winkler has become an early investor, offering a $500,000 boost in assistance to install fiber optic in every city building.
Valley Fiber is still raising money from local investors to reach the goal of $15 million.
The money is needed to dig the entire underground network from scratch.
While daunting, the Province has also seen the value of the project and announced a special tax credit of 45% on any investment into Valley Fiber up to $450,000.
The city has also allocated land North of Highway 14 for Valley Fiber headquarters and data centre.
"This is the start of the next generation of economic development in the tech industry in the region," Wall says.