Bell Aliant to accelerate FTTH efforts

MAY 5, 2010 – As part of its review of its first quarter 2010 financial performance, Canada’s Bell Aliant (TSX: BA.UN) announced plans to accelerate its rollout of fiber to the home (FTTH) technology.

MAY 5, 2010 – As part of its review of its first quarter 2010 financial performance, Canada’s Bell Aliant (TSX: BA.UN) announced plans to accelerate its rollout of fiber to the home (FTTH) technology.

“Over the past 18 months we have made significant progress with resetting our cost structure and expanding broadband with our launch of FTTH, and that continued this quarter,” said Karen Sheriff, president and chief executive officer at Bell Aliant.

The regional communications carrier revealed that Internet revenue grew by $8 million (8.4 per cent) in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, with the number of high-speed Internet customers 6.5 percent higher than a year ago and growth in Bell Aliant TV subscribers. Residential High Speed average revenue per customer (ARPC) increased 5.5 percent over the same quarter in 2009 as a result of pricing action and customer migration to higher value services.

“Our competitive environment and the success we are having with our FibreOP Internet and TV service in New Brunswick make it clear to us that accelerating this technology rollout now is the right thing to do,” said Sheriff. “We believe FTTH will help us grow revenue, retain and gain customers, improve customer service, and reduce our future operating and capital costs; all of which are fundamental to our future success.”

Through its FTTH FibreOP Internet and TV services, Bell Aliant is providing Internet and TV services in its New Brunswick markets of Fredericton and Saint John. The capabilities offered by this technology and Bell Aliant’s largely aerial network make it the ideal architecture to address the growing bandwidth needs of customers, the carrier asserts. Bell Aliant believes FTTH will provide it with a significant competitive advantage in its markets.

Bell Aliant expects to invest $350 million over 2011 and 2012 on FTTH. This accelerated investment will add approximately $100 million annually to Bell Aliant’s current capital program run rate for those years. While almost all homes and businesses in Bell Aliant’s competitive territory have access to the company’s high-speed Internet services, this expansion of FTTH will mean by the end of 2012 over 600,000 homes and businesses or approximately one-third of Bell Aliant’s competitive territory will have access to FTTH, significantly increasing Bell Aliant’s TV coverage area.

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