Telus Corp. announced last week that it plans to spend $1-billion in fiber-optic expansion in Vancouver, in a new strategic move.

According to an article in the Globe and Mail, the new step is part of a larger capital spending push by Telus and other telephone companies such as BCE Inc. to upgrade their networks to fibre. Fibre is fast and has a much greater bandwidth capacity than the traditional copper wires used for the “last mile” in telephone networks.

Telus has been installing fiber networks in smaller communities across British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec since 2013, and is now moving onto larger areas such as Edmonton and Vancouver.

BCE also announced its own plans to expand its fiber network in Canada, focusing on Toronto.

Telecom companies currently need to upgrade so that they are able to keep up with the speed and capacity demands presented by customers who are using more and more data online, and also in order to be able to support the wireless services they offer and remain competitive with the cable companies offering similar services.

Cable companies competing with telecom companies for Internet customers have a head start, as they use newer generations of DOCSIS (data over cable service interface specification), permitting them to deliver broadband Internet speeds over their existing last-mile copper wires that outpace what telecom companies can deliver on their own networks.

According to Telus, it plans to invest an additional $4-billion in B.C through 2018.

The first Vancouver neighbourhoods to be connected next year will have access to download speeds of 150 megabits per second, with increasingly higher speeds being offered over the coming years to meet with increases in demand, provided over its “gigabit-enabled network”.