Did you know that Canada’s first cellular network was deployed in Alberta? In 1982, TELUS (named Alberta Government Telephones at the time) introduced a ground-breaking network to connect and serve Alberta’s natural resource industry. Fast-forward 33 years and our network reaches from coast to coast and ranks amongst the best in the world – connecting more than 99 per cent of Canadians to 4G coverage and more than 80 per cent to LTE – and it started right here in Alberta.
TELUS has deep roots across Canada, and nowhere more than in this province – in fact, our company got its start in Edmonton. As an Albertan and a father living in this great province, I am proud of our decades-long track record of bringing the best technology in the world to Alberta first. Like any parent, I want my family to have the best – and TELUS is delivering.
We’re delivering with Optik. Optik TV is a fantastic example of how we’ve broken new ground with our cutting-edge technology in Alberta. Homegrown in Edmonton, the original platform allowed us to offer our customers Whole Home DVR and Instant Channel Change, which were revolutionary features at the time. Over the years, we’ve added more channels and HD content, a library of thousands of On Demand titles with a built-in recommendation engine, wireless set-top boxes, Netflix and Facebook integration, and mobile apps like Optik Smart Remote and Optik on the go. We’ve come a long way from our humble beginning connecting only 2,200 homes in Edmonton and Calgary. With nearly a million subscribers, today Optik TV is Canada’s most advanced media delivery system.
We’re delivering with our broadband network. Communities like Drayton Valley, Blackfalds, Didsbury, Hinton and Edson are among the first in North America to have access to the fastest broadband technology in the world, which geeks like me call GPON (or Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks). By expanding the reach of our fibre network, we’re providing communities across Alberta – and their residents and businesses – with faster and more reliable internet connections that are putting them ahead in Canada’s emerging digital economy; opening up new opportunities for businesses and fueling economic growth. From gigabit internet speeds and beyond, to remote healthcare solutions, to next-generation 4K HD television (which we are working on in Edmonton), GPON is the future of our network – and we deployed it here in Alberta first.
And we’re delivering with our commitment to giving where we live. In addition to our infrastructure and technology advancements, our commitment to charitable giving also has Alberta roots. Our team believes in the relationship between the success of business and the welfare of our communities, which is why we launched our first TELUS Community Board in Edmonton in 2005. TELUS Community Boards put decision-making in the hands of local leaders who know their communities best; making our financial support accessible to the grassroots organizations that make a difference in building stronger communities. Since its inception, the TELUS Edmonton Community Board has helped donate more than $5.3 million to deserving local charities. We’ve now rolled out the community board model that we pioneered in Edmonton to ten additional cities across Canada, including Calgary where we’ve contributed more than $5.3 million.
Our commitment to Alberta is unwavering. We’ve invested billions over the years to make Alberta one of the most connected places on the planet and this week we announced that we’re investing another $4.2 billion through 2018. Over the next few years, Albertans can expect faster and more reliable wireless networks, more communities connected to our fibre network, world-leading technology to help local industries thrive and our commitment that we’ll always put you first.