Unveiling its 2013 infrastructure investment plan this week, SaskTel has $53.8 million worth of continued improvements to its 4G wireless network lined up.
Within the City of Prince Albert, 14 enhancement locations have been identified, SaskTel manager of external communications Tara Tibeau said.
“It is really just a result of the continued demand that keeps going up for data,” she said.
Although SaskTel has a dropped call rate of about one per cent within the city -- well within the industry standard of two per cent -- other wireless services may slow down from time to time.
“There are lots of people on the network doing things like watching Netflix on their iPads and using applications and using what we would call a high-bandwidth service, which means it basically sucks up a lot of network power … to give you the service.”
As such, SaskTel has come up with a number of projects for Prince Albert, this year.
“You have all kinds of different pieces of infrastructure that we’re adding out there to beef up the coverage and make sure that the capacity is meeting the demands of the customers,” Tibeau said.
You have all kinds of different pieces of infrastructure that we’re adding out there to beef up the coverage and make sure that the capacity is meeting the demands of the customers. - SaskTel manager of external communications Tara Tibeau
Of the 14 enhancements being made in Prince Albert in 2013, two include antennas being installed in streetlights.
“It’s like building a new tower, but instead of building a new piece of equipment, the street light’s already there,” Tibeau said.
Another enhancement will be a mobile cell site, which was scheduled to arrive in the city on Wednesday.
“If there’s an area where we need to increase coverage or we’re having a real load of (wireless network use), we move in that cell site and it will provide additional capacity,” Tibeau explained.
Although 14 enhancements are being made in Prince Albert this year, taking a cue from last year’s improvements, Tibeau noted that SaskTel is constantly monitoring wireless network use.
In 2012, SaskTel initially budgeted $70 million toward 4G wireless network improvements across the province, but by the end of the year had bumped it up to $100 million. Prince Albert received seven enhancements during this time that served to increase wireless network capacity.