FarrPoint has this week announced the launch of its first overseas office with the creation of FarrPoint Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of FarrPoint, to address the Canadian market.
Edinburgh-headquartered FarrPoint, has long believed that the work it delivers across the UK on digital connectivity – from rural broadband projects in the most challenging environments such as the Scottish Highlands & Islands (technically, environmentally and commercially), through to more urban projects to drive full fibre and now 5G – is replicable in other geographies. Canada shares with the UK many of the challenges associated with rural service delivery, government telecom policy, and the competitive landscape for mobile services.
Canada’s vast landscape presents challenging geographies and a population that predominantly resides along a ribbon above the US border, with the remainder sparsely spread. The low population density and varied topography produces a connectivity environment that requires additional development and some innovative thinking. After meeting with different layers of government at both federal and provincial levels, the company reaffirmed that this is a market it is well-placed to address.
Improved digital connectivity is an ongoing requirement needed to support growing economic activity and sustain communities and this is an area FarrPoint has significant expertise. This could take the form of driving fibre networks further into remote geographies or developing the role of 5G as it spreads out from urban centres. Within Canada, fibre coverage is much better overall than in the UK through the use of different deployment methods, but alternative technologies also have a role with significant interest in forthcoming Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite solutions to serve some of the northern geographies.
Although the extent of fibre infrastructure is impressive, there remains some big challenges in driving services further into unserved areas where commercial operators won’t go. This is the case for both fixed and cellular services and in recognition, the Federal Government has launched several initiatives to help close the digital divide. This gives an objective that: “Canadian residential and business fixed broadband Internet access service subscribers should be able to access speeds of at least 50Mbps download and 10Mbps upload, and to subscribe to a service offering with an unlimited data allowance.”
A broadband fund of $750m over 5 years has been established to fund projects to build or upgrade access and transport infrastructure for fixed and mobile wireless broadband to achieve the universal service objective, in order to close the gap in connectivity in underserved areas.
Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of FarrPoint said
“We’re extremely excited to grow our operations internationally. Given our experience in the UK, we look forward to carrying that knowledge into the Canadian market, both in terms of driving out connectivity and also with the smart places agenda where our experience in IoT and 5G related projects are also directly relevant to Canadian cities and towns.”
FarrPoint chose Nova Scotia to start its Canadian venture with advisory assistance from government agency – Nova Scotia Business Inc. and are working with local associate and ex-VP of Rogers Communications, Bruce MacDougall to develop the FarrPoint business.