Office of the Premier

Bell Aliant expands fibre-to-the-home coverage (10/02/08)

NB 176

Feb. 8, 2010

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(Multimedia)

BATHURST (CNB) - Premier Shawn Graham congratulated Bell Aliant on extending its broadband network to Bathurst, Miramichi, Greater Moncton and Greater Saint John. The company is investing $85 million in capital costs before the end of 2010.

"We are thrilled that Bell Aliant has chosen to continue to invest in New Brunswick, especially northern New Brunswick, by expanding its next generation broadband network to even more communities," said Graham. "Bell Aliant recognizes the enormous potential in our province. The company's plan to extend fibre-to-the-home technology (FTTH) to more New Brunswickers will help us attract further investment and bring more people home for work, leading us forward on the road to self-sufficiency."

Last July, Bell Aliant announced plans to invest $60 million to provide FTTH technology to 70,000 homes and businesses in Saint John and Fredericton by mid-2010. The company subsequently broadened that original project to include New Maryland, Marysville and Lincoln.

At a news conference in Bathurst this morning, Bell Aliant's president and chief executive officer Karen Sheriff announced the company's plans to launch a second phase of FibreOP coverage across the province, beginning this winter.

"Having access to the fastest and most innovative technology will undoubtedly help New Brunswick attract and retain new and existing talent in the near future, furthering the goal of economic prosperity province-wide," said Sheriff. "We are extremely proud to offer an unparalleled broadband experience, including Bell Aliant TV, for our customers as we expand into a number of communities this year."

Communities that will receive FibreOp access include:

"This project is critical to developing and expanding New Brunswick's growing information-communications-technologies (ICT) sector, "said Donald Arseneault, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and Minister responsible for the Northern New Brunswick Initiative. "Today's announcement by Bell Aliant supports the provincial government's An Action Plan for Self-Sufficiency in Northern New Brunswick."

"One of the major objectives of this plan is to encourage investment in strategic infrastructure - such as high-speed Internet access and fibre optic technology - that will promote economic growth in our communities," he said.

Sheriff 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.

FTTH, an advanced broadband network, can send and receive large amounts of data almost instantly and can handle an array of Internet and video services, including high-definition television.

As part of the agreement announced in July, the provincial government renewed its strategic partnership with Bell Aliant by extending two existing service agreements for three years. The provincial government also contributed $1 million to ensure that New Brunswick technology and construction companies and their employees participate in the project. In return, Bell Aliant has agreed to award $3 million in project-related contracts to local businesses.

The Province of New Brunswick has not provided any extra investment for Bell Aliant's latest expansion.

"We are very proud that Bell Aliant has committed to develop this FTTH technology here in New Brunswick, providing substantial investment and spin-off benefits to communities throughout the province," said Graham. "This project will enhance and expand New Brunswick's information-communications-technologies sector, making our province a more attractive place to live and work."

10/02/08

MEDIA CONTACTS: Marie-Andree Bolduc, communications, Office of the Premier, 506-453-2144; Peter Murchland, communications and public affairs, Bell Aliant, 1-877-487-3165.

10/02/08