July/August 2020 – Facing the Music

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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C R E AT E D BY BCBusiness I N PA RT N E RS H I P W IT H TELUS and economic upper hand when it comes to the global 5G revolution. That's why TELUS is investing $20 million to connect more than 90 percent of homes and businesses in Nelson directly to its fibre optic network. TELUS also recently completed construction of two cell towers in Nelson and nearby village of Slocan and upgraded its wireless site in Rossland. "The power of connectivity is the lifeblood of our business," says Peacock. "Gone are the days of mainframes and servers. Our business is cloud-based, and so our team can work from anywhere, as long as they're online." As 5G networks become available in Nelson and other non-urban and rural com- munities, ToD will only continue to grow. "A lot of what we design, develop and build is under the assumption that the snowball of connectivity is going to keep rolling down the mountain," says Peacock. Future of work Last March, when the company's execu- tive team saw the possibility of a long lock- down, ToD pivoted within 24 hours to allow employees to work exclusively from home. It has also served as a timely reminder of the importance of the 5G rollout as Canadian individuals and companies are reassessing how and where they work amid the pandemic. Malpass and his team are now looking ahead to the 5G future. "I think post-COVID and social distanc- ing, the entire planet is acutely aware of the importance of connectivity," he says. As the country carefully moves toward opening back up to business and travel, ToD is increasingly confident it's found the right path forward. It sees the value of its small towns initiative and the relatively young squads of workers throughout small town Canada and in smaller centres in the U.S. In Nelson, for example, the average age is around 35 years. There, it has been able to attract a mix of employees from the community and outside. One Tractionite, Will Buchanan, moved his family from central Colorado last August. The lure of the mountains and lakes proved attractive. Nelson is also renowned as a friendly and open community in which to raise a family. Buchanan, a project manager with ToD, says the key to making it all work is fast, reliable internet. "It is absolutely critical," he says. "It's part of our going-forward plans in Nelson." n P R O M O T E D C O N T E N T Above: Under a lease agreement with Traction on Demand, Legion members will occupy the main floor and basement, while the company will move into the top two floors as part of its high-tech small towns initiative. Left: Traction on Demand employees and their families gather in the sunshine for a socially distanced meet-up outside their soon-to-be office above the Royal Canadian Legion in historic downtown Nelson, B.C. Powered by TELUS PureFibre, the company has set its sights on big growth in a 5G future Below: Nestled in the Selkirk Mountains, Nelson is among the first communities to feel the benefits of an ambitious plan by Traction on Demand to bring high-tech jobs to non-urban centres.

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