Bell Aliant to Expand Broadband Network

by Jordan Richardson on February 4, 2010

As one of the largest telecommunications providers in North America, Bell Aliant serves a population of over 5.3 million Canadians. Now, thanks to more spending from the Bell Aliant Regional Communications Income Fund, the company is gearing up to expand its advanced broadband network.

The decision to expand the network came after Bell Aliant announced higher net profits than expected in the final quarter of 2009.

As a regional telecom operator, Bell Aliant serves customers across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The move to expand the broadband network is expected to reach more than 140,000 homes in the region and will cost roughly $68 million. That will make the company’s total investment in broadband $95 million by the end of 2010.

Bell Aliant claims that broadband represents a growth industry for the provider, making the development of an expanded and advanced network the next logical step for a company looking to cement itself as the go-to provider in eastern Canada.

The company, based out of Halifax, is hoping to announce more specifics by mid-year on the communities receiving the advanced service.

Whether Bell Aliant is taking a gamble with this investment remains to be seen, but their profit levels look pretty good. The company saw $77.3 million in profits in the fourth quarter of 2009. That’s up a considerable amount from the $65.6 million in profits in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Bell Aliant claimed that it was able to generate these profit margins by reducing operating expenses and said that the moves to streamline operations led to the current opportunity to increase broadband access.

There is also a plan in the works for Bell Aliant to convert its income trust to a dividend-paying corporation, but details are limited on that front at this point.

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