Bell Aliant to complete fibre-op network in St. John's

Daniel MacEachern
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Karen Sheriff, president and CEO of Bell Aliant, said the Halifax-based telecom should be finished installing its new fibre-optic network in St. John's within the next few months. - Submitted photo

Following a fourth quarter that saw Bell Aliant climb back into the black, the telecom provider is poised to complete its fibre-optic upgrade in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Halifax-based company posted an $80-million profit in the fourth quarter of 2011, after a $1-billion loss the year before, largely due to a $1.7-billion writedown of the company's intangible assets, said Karen Sheriff, Bell Aliant's president and CEO.

"There was a writeoff in the prior year, which I think a lot of people don't really understand, which made it look like there was a giant loss in the prior year, but it was just a writeoff of intangibles," she said. "When Bell Aliant was created in 2006, as part of that transaction, some of our assets were classified. Think of it as 'goodwill.' The classification was adjusted so that there was this big lump of goodwill in our financials, and the world switched from (generally accepted accounting principles) accounting to (international financial reporting standards) accounting in 2011, and as part of that process, we cleaned up the financials and wrote off some of the intangibles that were on our balance sheet."

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the company is currently connecting homes in the St. John's area to its higher-speed fibre-optic network.

"Fibre-op right now is being built in the St. John's metro area. We're just about half complete with that build in St. John's," she said. "Within Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is obviously a very important part of our territory, and that's why we are investing in building fibre-to-the-home, and also we are expanding our business Internet network. We call it our next-generation network, which is also an ethernet product. We are investing in that."

The company announced in December an agreement with Nalcor and the provincial agreement to build fibre-optic infrastructure in Labrador.

Outside of the metro area, low population density provides particular challenges, she said.

"Fibre-to-the-home is not something that we're doing everywhere. We need a certain density of population. The network also has to be what we call largely aerial, so telephone pole rather than built, but it's really the density that we look for," she said. "That's why, when we initially announced fibre-to-the-home ... let's say we have 1.8 million homes across all of our territory, which includes Atlantic Canada and then rural Ontario and Quebec, we only announced we were going to do 600,000 homes and those were the places where there was enough density to make this thing economically viable."

Since then, Sheriff said, Bell Aliant now thinks the network will be available to a million homes. She wasn't able to say how many homes in Newfoundland and Labrador would be able to be connected, but she expects work in the St. John's area to be completed within the next few months. Twitter: TelegramDaniel


Organizations: Bell Aliant

Geographic location: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Canada Ontario Quebec

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Recent comments

  • rodney
    February 20, 2012 - 19:07

    what about people in mt pearl who have underground cables?

  • Craig Hogan
    February 17, 2012 - 10:40

    I Got My Aliant Tv upgrade a few days ago with all the promise of Hole home Hd On Demand And Hole Home PVR . Well I live In Mt Pearl But With Underground wiring so I am out off luck for Fiber op so I was told it is only with Fiber Op that you get hole home hd Hole Home pvr and on demand . My upgrade just gave me the Fiber op Guide . The amount I pay is Far greater than what a fiber op customer is paying for the same package I have and they get a free pvr besides . Thank you Aliant for the Great DOWNGRADE of my service .

  • Marcus
    February 15, 2012 - 17:40

    I think it is funny how when I tried to get Bell set up at my current place in Kenmount Terrace they told me it could be up to a year and a half before I actually got the services connected.... maybe in two years they will have FibreOp up here for everyone. I don't see any point in setting something up if they are not going to be able to handle all of St. John's growing demand.

  • Steve
    February 15, 2012 - 13:42

    Still stuck with "High Speed" here in Grand Falls-Windsor, which isn't "High Speed" at all... stuck with using rogers and their annoying caps, sigh.

  • Liz
    February 13, 2012 - 12:20

    would like to know when the people in Riverhead, St.Marys,Gaskiers and St.Vincents, Those are the communities of St.Marys Bay. Newfoundland are going to get cell phone use.Those communities are only 1 hour from St.Johns.We are behind the times when it comes to cell phone use.Why not tend to the more pressing needs first.We were promised a pole to accomidate the cell phone use 10 years ago.We have only just started with this one.Please let us know if there is anything in the plans for the users of cell phones in this area.Thank you.

  • Jack
    February 13, 2012 - 08:17

    In light of Bell Aliant's recent unreliable service and poor restoration time management in the Northern Bay of Islands area just outside Corner Brook three days ago, I don't exactly trust them. For example, on February 9 and 10, Hughes Brook, Irishtown-Summerside, Meadows, Gillams, McIvers, and Cox's Cove or Northern Bay of Islands area residents experienced a Bell Aliant Internet outage for almost an entire day, while Bell Aliant internet restoration standards are usually two hours according to their customer service department. Why did they provide unreliable service? Its because Bell Aliant is well known for not being prepared, and the area has outdated Digital Subscription Line or DSL as opposed to much faster fibre optic line. Maybe if this area had Rogers Internet like the rest of Corner Brook and Humber Valley area, Bell Aliant would improve their internet and telecommunications maintenance, reliability, and restoration performance. Bell Aliant, bring Fibre Op to Corner Brook, Bay of Islands, and Humber Valley areas as they are considered a densely populated area.

  • Jack
    February 13, 2012 - 08:05

    I wonder when the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador will get FibreOp, especially in major population areas outside Greater St. John's to fulfill their goals of connecting 1 million homes in Atlantic Provinces? While its nice that Bell Aliant is focusing on St. John's, they have to start focusing on providing Fibre Op to other major centres in the province such as St. Georges/Stephenville, Corner Brook/Bay of Islands/Humber Valley, Grand Falls-Windsor/Exploits Valley, Gander, Clarenville, Burin Peninsula, Labrador City/Wabush, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay areas? Besides, we shouldn't settle for unreliable DSL lines, we Corner Brook, Bay of Islands, and Humber Valley Area residents want Fibre Op as well.

    • Ray
      February 20, 2012 - 18:40

      Don't hold your breath, again you live outside the overpass!!

  • brett
    February 13, 2012 - 00:33

    I called in December to see if I could get FibreOp for my house on Gower Street - beside coffee matters - service not provided. I mentioned that I was to be moving to Bonaventure by the end of 2012 - and would like to have a fibreOp connection at my new house - service not provided there either... So what population center are they looking at? There will be the condos on Duckworth - opposite the Sheraton, and my other house is right opposite Brother Rice, down from the other condo project on bonaventure... Exactly who is getting access???

    • Joel
      February 13, 2012 - 08:35

      This is a massive undertaking for BellAliant. They are running new cables and infrastructure across the entire city. That's a big job. I'm actually amazed at how fast they are working. Much of Mount Pearl & CBS is already complete. Not too long ago Cowan Heights was activated. They have been running cables in many other areas like Blackmarsh Rd, Empire Avenue, Kenmount Terrace, downtown, and beyond.... As long as you aren't in an area with underground wiring you will get the service eventually. It's well worth the wait.

  • Jason
    February 12, 2012 - 19:44

    Beats Rogers and their capped, slow, unreliable internet here in St. John's - and I'm no fan of Bell, trust me.

  • F Power
    February 12, 2012 - 08:22

    Another way for the cable and telecom companies to make more money off of the average family. Go with apple tv ,basic cable,Netflix and use magic jack plus for your phone. You can also use an antenna to receive NTV in HD and CBC in crisp digital picture for free. How many average people really need this expensive fibre -op? Educate yourself about all the options available and never pay full price when at least two companies are competing for your business, ask for the retentions department and demand a better deal or take your business elsewhere.

    • Justin
      February 12, 2012 - 17:48

      Yeah and to use all those services you Broadband Internet! Bell FibreOp is revolutionary technology giving St. John's residents som of the fastest internets speeds in the world, Most of Canada and the USA do not even have this technology yet. Can't wait to get it.

    • Chris
      February 13, 2012 - 06:54

      NTV & mean those station still exist.