Building a digital network

5 people wearing safety helmets and vests standing near a hole in the ground with a spool of fibre optic cable on a trailer behind them.

In June 2021, with a shovel in the ground, the City took its first step towards building its own digital network, removing its reliance on third-party service providers.

Over the next five years, more than 80 kilometres of fibre optic cable will be installed below ground across Guelph to connect the network to City-owned facilities and 187 traffic controllers.

Installing its own fibre optic cable network positions the City for sustainable growth and potential revenue opportunities by leasing unused fibre strands to local businesses or institutions and contributes to a smart local economy that is connected.

Owning its own network also reduces external costs for the City. It costs $380,000 annually to connect the City’s 20 facilities and traffic controllers to fibre optic owned by third-party providers.

Fibre communication is a benefit to Guelph as it sets the stage for automated traffic management, traffic signal phasing for buses to move through traffic faster, and intelligent transportation systems to provide police, fire, and ambulance with a green light at intersections that can reduce driver confusion, conflicts, and improve emergency response times.

It’s expected that once the network is fully implemented, the Internet connection to and between City facilities will be faster. In some cases, the speed will be up to 100 times faster.

For each connection, the City will transition the location from a third-party service provider to the City-owned fibre connection.

City-owned facilities include:

  • recreation centres and arenas
  • fire halls and paramedic stations in Guelph
  • Operations, 45 Municipal Street
  • Water Services, 29 Waterworks Place
  • Wastewater Services, 530 Wellington Street West
  • Guelph Transit, 170 Watson Road South
  • Solid Waste Resource Centre, 110 Dunlop Drive
  • Riverside Park administration building
  • Eastview Community Park administration building
  • John McCrae House, Guelph Civic Museum and River Run Centre
  • Baker Street parking lot (for future Baker District development)

The network is expected to be completed by spring 2026. Council approved $6.9 million for the project as part of the City’s 2021 budget. The life expectancy of the fibre cable being installed is greater than 50 years.

A spool of fibre optic cable

Additional 2021 highlights

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In June 2020, the Our Food Future project team shifted much of its focus to Grow Back Better, a 10-point response to the impacts of COVID-19. Commitments included seeding rapid business innovation, supporting emergency food delivery programs and helping families discover the joys of at-home gardening. However, other priorities didn’t slow down, and some exciting developments were announced in 2021.

Driving circular economic and social innovation
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Helping businesses during COVID-19 recovery

The City’s shop local platform Guelph Shops continued performing well through the end of 2021.

Helping businesses during COVID-19 recovery