Document 170433

H-Mart Grocery store specializes in
Korean foods and draws shoppers from
around the Lower Mainland.
But the stage for the new face of Coquitlam – the one with the gleaming highrises and enviable business potential – was
set 15 years ago, when its engineers and
city council decided to lay fibre optic cable
throughout the municipality in order to
update the traffic-light system. “Fibre optic cable wasn’t mandatory, but the council foresaw the day when traffic cameras
would become commonplace,” says Rick
Adams, Coquitlam’s manager of information and communications technology.
Today, the cable comprises an infrastructure network – the only one of its kind in
any Canadian municipality – that will soon
enable the movement of telecom services.
In short, the new public works of the 21st
century. “We had the luck of timing on
our side with that initiative,” says Stewart.
“With this infrastructure in place, we’ll
soon be able to provide users of homebased businesses, stay-at-home workers
and anyone else with enormous and inexpensive Internet throughput. This new
public utility will be a huge magnet for
traditional businesses and new residents
Under its brand name of QNet, the
fibre optic network has been likened
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Congratulations City of Coquitlam on
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1578 Hartley Avenue, Coquitlam, B.C. V3K 7A1 • Tel (604) 540-4632 • Fax (604) 540-4674
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Coquitlam City Centre as Westwood Plateau rises to Eagle Mountain, with Mount Seymour in the distance.
city of coquitlam
Rick Adams, Coquitlam’s manager of
information and communications technology,
enjoys pointing out that “We’re the first city in
North America to lease our unused (dark)
carrier-grade fibre to telecom service providers,
which helps them extend their footprint in the
community and meet the escalating demand
for bandwidth.”
The carrier-grade infrastructure is part of
Coquitlam’s 50-kilometre fibre optic network
originally installed for traffic signal
coordination. It took the vision of Coquitlam’s
city council to turn it into a money-making
telecommunications conduit, and it did so by
creating QNet, a self-sustaining and whollyowned municipal corporation.
Coquitlam doesn’t have a substantial
high-tech or commercial business sector that
would compel large telecom service providers
to do business in the city. However, many such
providers are running their fibre optic networks
through Coquitlam, and thanks to QNet they can
easily tie into its network. Smaller providers
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who view Coquitlam as an attractive market are
also helping to bring national carriers onboard
as their backhaul partners.
QNet installs fibre optic connections directly
into businesses and residential complexes after
entering into agreements with providers. As long
as the value of the lease over its term ensures
cost recovery for the “last yard” connection
(as connections to facilities are called), QNet
covers all the costs of bringing fibre optics into
How feasible is QNet as a business? Adams
points out that when the City of Coquitlam used
the fibre optic network to connect all of its civic
buildings in 2003, “this resulted in an annual
savings of $300,000 in networking costs.” He
adds that “we aim for QNet to be profitable
by 2013, by which point many home-based
businesses and virtual workplaces will be
located here.”
The first of two permanent co-location
facilities is situated in Coquitlam’s new Sports
Centre. In addition to the centre being a major
hub for the fibre optic network, QNet is using
the heat from its telecom equipment to keep
the building foundation under the ice surface
from freezing.
Quality assurance is a key element of the
QNet business plan. Professional telecom
carriers expect the same standards of quality
and responsiveness that they provide to their
customers,” says Roel Coert, director of QNet
operations. “Our network is fully supported on
a 24/7 basis and our two telecom co-location
facilities are built to the latest standards for
energy efficiency and disaster survivability.”
Adams points out that in Asia and
Europe, “communities treat telecommunications technology as a publicly-owned entity, and
we’ve put ourselves in the position to
do that here. Our goals are job creation, a better quality of life, getting people off the roads
by allowing them to work at home, and creating
a competitive telecom environment.”
Given QNet’s advantages, these goals
stand a fair chance of being met. QNet:
• Makes it easy for any telecom service
provider in the country to connect to Coquitlam
consumers, thereby enhancing choices for
business and residential consumers.
• Supports a broad range of economic
development strategies, including health,
research, education, high-tech, home-based
business and virtual workplace.
• Helps ensure Coquitlam stays at the
forefront of new and emerging applications,
such as virtual classroom and telemedicine.
• Offers the most competitive, flat-rate, dark
fibre optic lease pricing in the country.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart views
QNet as “all about taking an investment we
needed for City services and using the unused
capacity to address the growing need for high
speed internet access in our community. “The
rate structure and leasing arrangements are
open to all telecom service providers, and our
goal is to provide the infrastructure so that
they can extend and improve services to the
advantage of businesses here.” n
to a road network that enables goods and
services to move through the community
(see sidebar). The comparison is apt, since
Coquitlam’s fortunes have historically
hinged on transportation networks of various forms: the opening of the Lougheed
Highway in 1953 made the city more accessible and set the stage for residential growth.
That’s why city planners are excited about
the Port Mann Bridge twinning project and
smaller, but no less important, civil undertakings such as the King Edward overpass.
“These projects will, apart from alleviating
traffic jams, make Coquitlam even more
accessible and will distance ourselves further from our outdated image as a bedroom
community,” says Wayne Beggs, Coquitlam’s manager of economic development.
“The upgrades will also improve access to
important hubs within our city, such as the
industrial area of United Boulevard.”
Thoroughfares are not the only things to
be revitalized in Coquitlam. About 10 per
cent of the waterfront region near the Port
Mann Bridge where the now-defunct Fraser
Mills is located has been earmarked as a
mixed-use community, and the City has collaborated with The Beedie Group to finetune a 15-year plan to maximize use of the
area. “Within five years we’ll see residences,
commercial space, some retail and lots of
Urban Systems.indd 1
8/24/10 2:50:25 PM
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CTJ Contracting Ltd.
2026 Winter Crescent
Coquitlam BC V3K 6T6
Contact: Mike Turner
Fax: 604-931-2282
email: [email protected]
CTJ Contracting.indd 1
CTJ Contracting Ltd. is proud to be
a part of the team on the Coquitlam
Town Centre Fire Hall addition.
CTJ Contracting Ltd. provides
concrete forming services for
Commercial, Industrial and Multiresidential construction.
8/3/10 3:53:08 PM
2876 Norland Avenue,
Burnaby, BC V5B 3A6
Phone: 604-294-4140
Fax: 604-294-4142
Street Work | Parking Lots
Driveways | Concrete Curbs
Patching | Civil Works
Palmieri Bros.indd 1
8/4/10 9:50:22 AM
Girl time.
Your Shopping Destination!
Find what you’re shopping for at Coquitlam Centre.
Featuring more than 200 stores and services,
including H&M, Aritzia, Guess?, Jacob, Tristan,
Jack & Jill, lululemon athletica and Sephora.
Barnet and Lougheed Hwy l 604.464.1414 l
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The seven-acre Colony Farms Community Gardens is entirely organic and offers
Coquitlam citizens with an opportunity to get out and garden.
detect gas leaks, water leaks, or seismic vibrations), is a Coquitlam-based entrepreneur who always knew his city would eventually come into the limelight. “It’s too
good a place to ignore,” he says. “I’ve lived
in and operated my business here for 20
years and can’t imagine being anywhere
else. Coquitlam is centrally located within
Metro Vancouver, it has all of the facilities
and amenities of a big city without the
expense, it’s business friendly, and in terms
of living here, it’s nice and peaceful.”
The core of any successful city is its people, and on that score Coquitlam devotes
an unusual amount of time and energy supporting its various institutes of learning and
international transfer programs. “Our
school system has more foreign students
per capita than anywhere else in B.C.,
and with 2,000 students from Spain, Iran,
Korea, China and other countries enrolled
in our Coquitlam School District, this makes
us bigger than the City of Toronto’s foreign
student program,” says Stewart. “Not only
does this enhance our culture and community, it’s a boon to our economy, and frequently
the families of these students come here to
live or establish businesses.” As for institutes
of higher learning, the 4,000-student David
Lam Campus of Douglas College offers university transfer, career-training and academic-upgrading programs.
Although Stewart stresses that the development of Coquitlam’s city centre and
other beneficial components is still ongoing, he takes a moment to consider the
thriving community around him. “We’ve
come a long way” he concedes. “All I can say
in addition to that is ‘Stay tuned’: if you
think this is an amazing place in which to
live, work and play now, it’ll be even more
so in the future.” n
This promotional feature was prepared by
BCBusiness magazine’s Special Advertising
Features Dept. Writer: Robin Brunet. For
information, contact VP of corporate features
John Cochrane at 604-299-7311. Email:
[email protected]
If you would like
your company
featured in a
BCBusiness magazine
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please contact:
John Cochrane
Tel: 604.299.7311
[email protected]
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