QNet – Coquitlam’s municipal network infrastructure

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As I noted earlier, my hometown of Coquitlam is looking to improve telecommunications infrastructure through the recently launched community-based QNet, an initiative to deploy dark fibre throughout the city. I read through the 2008 Annual Report [pdf] to get some more information and it had some interesting tidbits.

QNet’s 3 Goals

  1. Enable the transformation of telecommunications services in Coquitlam to an open, market-driven, competitive environment
  2. Enhance the telecom capabilities of the City and community
  3. Provide a framework for the managed deployment of telecom infrastructure

The report states that Bell, Telus and MTS Allstream were expected to have set up their physical connection to the optical network by the end of 2009 and suggests QNet has been successful in driving down costs for telecommunication access, with increased competition resulting in a savings of over $55,000 for the city.

Where the report is a little too vague, at least for my interest, is how QNet ties into other initiatives to realize development goals of “enhanced job creation, in particular those sectors which are dependent on global communications or are technology rich/dependent.” There doesn’t seem to be an obvious tie in to Coquitlam’s current industrial parks (Pacific Reach Business Park, Mayfair Industrial Park and Cape Horn Business Park), though increased connectivity should improve the areas’ ability to sync with global supply chains and just in time manufacturing. Recent Town Centre development has been primarily focused on mixed-residential as a result of the condo boom of the last decade.

What Coquitlam seems to be lacking, at least to the casual observer, is a development policy focused on increasing ICT businesses. While not likely to possess the software-development critical mass sustained by the downtown Vancouver areas, I think Coquitlam should be actively recruiting infrastructure research and development businesses and production. With the growing mobile startup scene in Vancouver and efforts to focus on the sector through industry associations like DigiBC, I’ll be watching for more initiatives by city council to continue to promote hi-tech businesses.