a2b Fiber was founded in 2006 to provide fibre optic network planning, design, engineering and permitting services to communications service providers (CSPs) and public sector customers in Western Canada. Services provided by the company included:
- Network planning (including methodologies and cost-estimating);
- Cable placement designs for outside plant and interior networks;
- Creating civil design drawings and obtaining permits;
- Field audits (including manhole, splice case and pole audits);
- Splicing and terminations (including installation and testing);
- Drafting and Geographic Information Systems mapping;
- Construction supervision and project management, and;
- Records management, network operations and monitoring.
In 2008, it became apparent that a number of factors, including increased demand for broadband services and increased competition among service providers, were driving the need for more optical fibre networks in metropolitan areas. This led a2b to direct its efforts away from providing communications consulting services to developing a private sector open access fibre optic network business model and building fibre optic networks in Metro Vancouver.
In 2009, a2b acquired a telco-grade GIS-based fibre records management system and established an operations centre to monitor fibre networks for service interruption and maintenance issues and provide locating services for its own network and several of its clients.
During 2009, 2010 and 2011, the company obtained support structure agreements and entered into municipal access agreements. a2b also designed, engineered, permitted and/or built, on a project management or turnkey construction basis, in excess of 250 kilometres of fibre network during this time.
a2b Fiber also audited, designed, and/or permitted the majority of its own network, installed approximately five kilometres of network and has entered into both long term and short term fibre lease agreements with a number of customers.
These efforts have resulted in the company’s current network of approximately 13 route kilometres as well as the ‘shovel-ready’ planned 120 route km network. While a2b still provides the communications services listed above, its efforts are currently focused on building its own open access network.