Back in February, Bell announced it would accelerate its network expansion by spending $1 to $1.2 billion over the next two years. On Monday morning, Bell announced it would add another $500 million to the expansion plan, for a total spend of up to $1.7 billion for 2021 and 2022.
Bell says the added investment is “in response to the support for infrastructure investment reflected in recent federal regulatory and policy decisions.”
Recently, the CRTC agreed to roll back wholesale internet rates to 2016 levels, favouring incumbent telecoms, much to the disdain of smaller internet service providers and consumer groups, as the decision will likely increase prices and lower competition.
“The unprecedented impacts of the crisis have necessitated a bold response from all stakeholders in Canada’s economy, and Bell responded with the largest capital acceleration project in our company’s 141-year history. Now, with greater regulatory stability fostering an improved investment climate, Bell is proud to take our plan even further by growing our investment to advance how Canadians in communities large and small connect with each other and the world,” said said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada.
Bell says its investment “will significantly increase the number of wireline and wireless connections in Canada’s rural and urban centres alike over the next 2 years, including significantly expanded plans for all-fibre connections, while creating additional employment as network construction activity speeds up.”
For those in rural areas, we’ve seen Bell customers ditch the company’s internet service for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet, which offers faster download speeds and lower latency. Bell’s CEO has said it’s ready to take on Starlink ‘any day’.