Northwestel Announces $233M Modernization Plan to Expand 3G Networks, DSL

Northwestel has announced its modernization plans to spend $233 million over five years to expand its wireless, DSL and cable infrastructure to northern communities:

“We have developed a modernization plan that delivers for our communities,” said Paul Flaherty, President and Chief Executive Officer at Northwestel. “In addition to supplying more northern communities with enhanced services, the plan puts in place measures to facilitate competition and builds on partnerships with other parties. The Northwestel plan outlines how we will bring next generation wireless and broadband services to the North and essentially reduce distances with technology. This plan puts northerners first and provides our customers with access to modern and innovative services.”

The plan calls for 3G network expansion to reach an additional 67 northern communities, bringing access to the latest smartphones and tablets for 99 percent of the population. Other improvements will bring double the speeds for internet to 58 communities, enhanced calling features such as call display and also allowing customers to keep phone numbers if they switch providers.

Last December, Northwestel launched its 3G HSPA network in Norman Wells and Fort Simpson, which will support users with iPhones.

Northwestel is a subsidiary of BCE Inc. (parent company of Bell Canada), and the plan, submitted yesterday, comes as the CRTC had demanded a new strategy from the telco by mid-January, part of a public proceeding to overhaul aging telecom services in the North, a stark contrast to cities in southern parts of Canada.