Bell Fast-Tracks Rural Internet Rollout to 137,000 Homes Due to COVID-19

Bell has announced this morning it has accelerated its rural internet rollout in Ontario and Quebec, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with broadband Wireless Home Internet to reach roughly 137,000 more residential homes by April 30, 2020.

“Bell’s Wireless Home Internet program is dedicated to bringing full broadband Internet speeds to rural communities and other traditionally underserved locations. And with WHI usage growing 40% over the last month, the COVID-19 crisis has clearly underscored the value of the service to customers in smaller communities,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, in a press release.

Bell’s Wireless Home Internet service offers speeds of up to 25 Mbps. The company says the accelerated buildout will see new or enhanced broadband for roughly 180 rural communities in Ontario and Quebec.

The company says it is seeing a 40% increase in Bell Home Wireless Internet usage due to COVID-19. Bell says it has “maintained overall network reliability of 99.99+% throughout the crisis.”

As for Bell Internet data volumes, they have surged 60% during the day and 20% in the evening, while voice calls on landlines and wireless have increased up to 200% at peak times, with conference calling up 250%.

Bell TV has seen a 40% increase, while the company’s Crave streaming service has seen usage surge 75%, as families stay home due to COVID-19.

Stephen Howe, Bell’s Chief Technology Officer, added, “We continue to work around the clock to add network capacity to meet the unprecedented demands of the crisis and ensure those on the front lines have the reliable communications support they need.”