Word on the Street
By Grace Swanson
In the near future, Langley will have the fastest internet in Washington state!
Whidbey Telecom is working to install fiber optic cables around the city that are capable of 10 gigabit internet speed, which will make Langley’s internet ten times faster than any city in the state.
But how fast is 10 gigabits?
With 10 gigabits per second, 1200 televisions could simultaneously stream high definition content; a significantly sized business could connect to its offices in New York from Langley; and someone working in the Hollywood film or music industry could upload a movie or sound clip in Langley faster than they could in LA.
Langley mayor Tim Callison believes the potential for faster internet will be beneficial to the city’s economy and community. Residents who work for companies that are dependent on high speed internet and data movements, such as techies, graphic designers, and engineers, will have the ability to work from home.
Off-island companies will have the capability to set up work spaces in Langley, which would reduce the commute time for workers traveling from Whidbey Island. Callison said that expanding career opportunities, especially in the technology sector, may attract younger workers and diversify the age demographic in Langley.
Previously, the internet was transmitted through copper cables. Copper cables require more power and the internet transmission occurs at a slower velocity. The fiber optic cables are made from plastic or glass and transmit electricity using light, which allows for quicker speeds. Fiber is also more reliable and requires less maintenance. Eventually there will be gigabit capability throughout South Whidbey.
Currently, free 1 gigabit wireless internet is available downtown Langley.
Whidbey Telecom Co-CEO George Henny said this internet capability will empower residents and businesses to thrive locally. Creating a stronger community is always at the root of what the telecommunications company strives to do.
“If someone is employed by Amazon or Google, but they live and work here, that means they’re getting paid from somebody off-island, but they’re actually spending that money here,” he said. “This is beneficial for the economy and beneficial for Langley.”
The new internet will keep people on the island and their spending too. For every dollar spent at a local small business, 68 cents stays in the community.
Langley businesses benefit from faster internet.
At the Port of South Whidbey, commonly referred to as the Langley Marina, harbormaster Duncan McPhee estimates that 60 percent of guests use the port’s free WiFI. The port hopes to incorporate wireless internet into the terminals, which will speed up the payment process.
Langley resident Robin Black is the founder and president of Connects Marketing Group, a virtual business development company. Her employees are based in different countries and primarily use conference calls to communicate. Occasionally the company puts on virtual conferences. Often, her internet crashes as a result of the the large volume of employees and clients. A higher bandwidth would enable her computer to transmit more data, resulting in fewer crashes.
“The faster internet connection will help me be more effective and able to support clients and their customers in a more efficient way,” Black said.
This new internet capability will help Langleyites thrive in their community and pave the way for future innovation.