SaskTel is continuing on its current Rural Fibre initiative and is reporting that the first phase of its plan is nearly complete.

Announced in 2020, SaskTel is looking to expand fibre optic internet to other jurisdictions of the province, including many rural communities.

Their plan is broken down into four phases, centered around different communities:

• Phase 1 – Balgonie, Biggar, Langham, and Pilot Butte. The construction for the networks in this phase is over 95% complete.

• Phase 2 – Kindersley, Meadow Lake, and Rosetown. Construction has already started in Kindersley and will soon begin in Meadow Lake, and Rosetown.

• Phase 3 - Canora, Carlyle, Esterhazy, Fort Qu’Appelle, Hudson Bay, Indian Head, Kamsack, La Ronge, Lumsden, Maple Creek, Moosomin, Shaunavon, Watrous, and Wynyard. SaskTel plans to begin construction in a number of these communities in 2022.

• Phase 4 – Assiniboia, Buffalo Narrows, Caronport, Carrot River, Dalmeny, Davidson, Dundurn, Foam Lake, Gravelbourg, Gull Lake, Île-à-la-Crosse, Kipling, La Loche, Lanigan, Macklin, Osler, Outlook, Oxbow, Preeceville, Regina Beach (including Buena Vista and Kinookimaw), Rocanville, Shellbrook, Unity, and Wadena. SaskTel plans to begin construction in these communities in 2023.

SaskTel has been prioritizing fibre optic connections for a while, with Estevan receiving the first wires back in 2016, with residential and multi-unit buildings now hooked up.

Lindsay Mazenc, SaskTel's external communications manager says that Estevan may even see more fibre optic connections in the future.

"We've seen great uptake of the service, and actually all the residential areas and multi-dwelling units in Estevan have been completed for fibre now for a few years. I know the SaskTel team will be going back to Estevan in the next few years for business areas as well."

Mazenc says that SaskTel is excited to bring fibre optic connections to southeast communities like Oxbow, Carlyle, and others.