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Wightman celebrates grand opening of local storefront

March 24, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

An overall improvement to internet speeds and services is underway in Orangeville.

Wightman Telecom recently started construction for fibre optic internet locally and plans to cover the whole town over the next four years at a cost of roughly $60-65 million.

Wightman celebrated the grand opening of their storefront in Orangeville last Thursday (March 17) at 95 First Street, Unit B4, where the company’s CEO Rob Figliuzzi was joined by Orangeville’s Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh and Dufferin–Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones.

Regarding Wightman’s plan to cover all of Orangeville with fibre optic, totalling roughly 350km of cabling by 2025, Macintosh said it’s a very exciting time for the town.

“I think the pandemic has shown us all that we need quicker [internet] speeds, especially with a lot of people working from home now,” he noted. “If you didn’t know it two years ago, you certainly know it now.”

Over 10,000 meters of construction for fibre optic was installed in Orangeville’s Industrial Park by Wightman in 2020 and 2021, which was much needed for the businesses located there.

“For years, the industrial people have been screaming ‘we need fiber optics’,” said Macintosh.

He added that the addition of fibre to Orangeville should help attract more businesses to town, putting it on the same level as other municipalities who already have it.

Wightman, which has been a telecom provider since it was founded in 1908, advanced into the world of fibre optic internet in 2008. Since then, it has been building the infrastructure in rural municipalities across Ontario.

“Before I joined Wightman, I naively assumed that either Bell or TELUS just commanded the entire Canadian landscape in terms of telephone companies, but in fact, there’s about two dozen independents. Wightman is one of them,” said Figliuzzi.

He noted that in Wightman’s history, the past 15 years have been the most exciting as the company rolled beyond its traditional boundaries and began building fibre optic internet.

Wightman will have fully completed converting Stratford, Ont. over to fibre optic internet by mid-year, and Orangeville will be Wightman’s 18th town that has been constructed or is in the process of being constructed, said Figliuzzi.

He noted that in the last 15 years, when the company began focusing on fibre optic, he’s seen incredible growth.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth as an organization and we’ve benefitted tremendously just from the vision of our owners, Paul and Blair [Wightman].”

Passed down from generation to generation, brothers Paul and Blair are currently the fourth-generation owners of Wightman. They took the company over after their father, Ray retired in 1987. The two brothers own 100 per cent of the company today.

When looking at fibre optic projects at Wightman for 2022, Figliuzzi noted plans for continual growth.

“I say this every year but this year in 2022, in terms of the fiber projects that we’re doing today and what we’re looking to invest in, this is our most aggressive year,” Figliuzzi said. “I have no doubt, we’ll be saying the same thing next year.”

Looking into the future, Wightman will be prepared for the evolution of internet services.

Fibre optic cables are built out of glass and use lasers to send signals, which can travel at light speed. This means the technology is scalable so if and when download/upload speeds need to be increased significantly in the future, it won’t be a problem.

Figliuzzi said the technology is considered to be “future proof”.

“I would say in theory, it doesn’t have a ceiling in terms of the speeds we can put on it because again, once you have the glass in place, and then the network buried, it’s just a matter of changing out the lasers to make for faster speeds,” he noted.

To get fibre to your home or business, you must sign up for Wightman’s Fibre to Home service, even if you’re an existing customer. This can be done by calling 519-415-4273 or visiting wightman.ca/orangeville-fibre-to-the-home and clicking the red “Sign Up Online” button.

Going forward, Wightman has plans to convert all of its existing copper wire infrastructure into fibre optic and explore expansion opportunities in other communities.

“We are looking to continue our growth,” said Figliuzzi.  



         


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