SaskTel customers in two southwest towns are just one click away from significant improvements to their internet services.

Construction work recently began in Shaunavon to install kilometres worth of fiber optic cable, replacing the existing copper lines. 

"The cabling that we're putting in the ground and on the power poles will set up our customers in these communities to have the internet speeds they need today but then for decades to come," Greg Jacobs, the external communications manager for SaskTel, said.      

The buried construction is just part of the required work for the SaskTel infiNET service to become available. The other half includes ariel work that will be completed this fall and winter.

Currently, the Crown corporation can manufacture speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second but that figure is expected to evolve as fiber optics progress.

"We're really just kind of scratching the surface in what that infrastructure can do," he said. "As needs increase for better bandwidth and faster speeds, we will be able to make relatively simple   

The improved internet is expected to be online by March of 2023 in Shaunavon with work crews in the area until then. 

As for the other southwest community apart of SaskTel's rural fiber initiative phase three in Maple Creek, work has yet to begin there.

"If we don't start buried construction in Maple Creek this year, we will likely get to ariel construction in the winter," he said. "The idea being that we want to get as many of these communities online as quickly as possible." 

The rural fiber project by SaskTel was announced in 2020 and in phase four, three southwest communities will receive these upgrades; Gull Lake, Gravelbourg, and Assiniboia. Construction in those towns is pegged to start next year.