July 7, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Bell Aliant, with support from the provincial government, will be the first communications company in Canada to provide an advanced broadband network to an entire city.
Bell Aliant will be investing $60 million to provide fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology to 70,000 homes and businesses in Saint John and Fredericton by mid-2010. Some customers will receive this service, known as FibreOP, later this year.
"We are excited that our launch of FibreOP makes us the first communications company in Canada to offer fibre-to-the-home to serve entire cities," said Karen Sheriff, president and chief executive officer, Bell Aliant. "In addition to bringing the most advanced technology to our customers, it makes economic sense for Bell Aliant in these markets because of the cost advantages associated with our virtually 100 per cent aerial (above ground) network infrastructure and low population density."
Sherriff said that customers will have access to an advanced broadband network delivered through 100 per cent fibre optic technology connected directly to their homes and businesses. With FibreOP, she said, customers will be able to enjoy the ultimate Internet and television experience.
"We are pleased Bell Aliant has chosen to launch this next generation broadband network first to our province, and we expect this leading technology will attract further investment and bring more New Brunswickers home for work, leading us forward on the road to self-sufficiency," said Premier Shawn Graham. "This project is critical to developing and expanding New Brunswick's growing information-communications-technologies (ICT) sector and will maintain our province's leadership edge in telecommunications technology across Canada."
FTTH, an advanced broadband network, can easily handle an array of Internet and video services, including high-definition television. Bell Aliant says FTTH is the ideal architecture to meet the growing bandwidth needs of customers, including the ability to send and receive large quantities of data almost instantly.
The provincial government is renewing its strategic partnership with Bell Aliant by extending two existing service agreements for three years. The provincial government is also contributing $1 million to ensure that New Brunswick technology and construction companies and their employees participate in the project. In return, Bell Aliant will award $3 million in project-related contracts to local businesses.
FibreOP is a continuation of Bell Aliant's strategy to bring fibre services closer to customers. Bell Aliant covers more than 240,000 homes with its fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network. As Bell Aliant moves into these new markets, with one of the most aerial networks in North America and relatively low population density, FTTH costs are comparable to FTTN.
The 2009 portion of Bell Aliant's investment is included in previously released 2009 capital intensity guidance of 13.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent of revenues. The remainder is expected to be part of Bell Aliant's normal capital program in 2010.
"We are proud of our history of innovation here in New Brunswick and to be launching the FibreOP FTTH network," said Sheriff. "This investment demonstrates our commitment to using the best of technology to make our customers' lives better."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is a backgrounder about Bell Aliant's FibreOP technology. MEDIA CONTACTS: Deborah Nobes, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-444-3323; Isabelle Robinson, media relations, Bell Aliant, 506-457-5554; Zeda Redden, investor relations, Bell Aliant, 902-487-5726.
Backgrounder: Bell Aliant's FibreOP technology
About fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology
Benefits of fibre
Bringing fibre closer to customers
The virtually 100 per cent aerial network and population densities of Fredericton and Saint John make these markets ideal to evolve to FTTH in these markets.