Whistler could have the most broadband Internet connectivity of any town in North America within a few years, if it doesnt have it already.
The local broadband market is about to get a little more crowded in the New Year when Tranzeo Wireless Technologies Inc., a Maple Ridge-based company, starts to formally offer its services to businesses and residents.
Their services include high-speed wireless Internet and Voice Over IP (Vancouver phone numbers only at this time, international to follow). Video conferencing and IP television (IPTV) are expected to follow in 2006, as is the ability to use dedicated commercial frequencies.
According to Rob Campbell, general manager of the Whistler division of Tranzeo Wireless Network Services, there are now transmission towers on the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb, as well as in Function Junction. A fourth and fifth tower will be built in the spring to serve the Alpine Meadows and Brio subdivisions as well as to provide full coverage from one end of town to the other.
The same towers and technology, which were developed in Maple Ridge, were also installed and tested in Black Tusk and Pinecrest over the past year to test the impact of weather conditions, forest density and mountains on the signal strength and reliability. According to Campbell, the technology passed the test.
"The feedback from our customers there has been good, there was no impact whatsoever from snow, rain and wind," he said. "Initially, we were worried about ice build-up on our radio transmitters, particularly at the peak of the mountains, so we installed heaters in each transmitter. So far we havent had any issues."
The download speed of the basic Tranzeo service is comparable to or higher than other Whistler high-speed services, according to Campbell, unless you specifically order a higher bandwidth connection.
Tranzeo provided a higher bandwidth system to Bombardier this fall during the companys Whistler conference.
Unlike other providers, Campbell says Tranzeos technology offers customers the same upload and download speeds, which typically vary with other providers. Theres also no limit as to how much information you can send or receive in a month, or extra charges past a certain limit, and Campbell says the Tranzeo service will be priced competitively with other services.
Campbell admits there is some overlap with existing Internet services offered by Telus and Whistler Cable, but believes Tranzeos high-speed service offers several advantages. One of those advantages is a fully monitored network, which allows Tranzeo to "see every transmitter or receiver device, whether at a business or a home, and know if there is a problem with their signal."