Bell Canada has earmarked a further CAD854 million (USD639 million) to extend direct fibre to additional homes and businesses throughout Montreal, targeting fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage of 1.1 million residences and businesses in Quebec’s largest city. Bell estimates that – based on the results of previous fibre projects in Quebec City, Toronto and other major urban centres – the Montreal fibre project will create approximately 2,700 direct and indirect jobs and an additional CAD2.2 billion in new economic activity. The FTTH expansion will involve installing more than 7,000km of new fibre and upgrading 25 central offices across Montreal, where more than 90% of Bell’s existing network is on aerial structures (i.e. utility poles) rather than in underground ducts, which will help to speed the deployment of the new fibre links (as it did in similar rollouts in Quebec City). FTTH local access enables Bell’s ‘Gigabit Fibe’ internet service with download speeds up to 1Gbps, which to-date is available in ‘several thousand’ locations in Montreal. Taking into consideration other FTTH rollouts across Quebec, by the end of 2017 Bell expects to offer Gigabit Fibe to around 40% of homes and businesses in the province, whilst in the future access speeds of 10Gbps-plus will be provided over the network. In total Bell covers roughly three million FTTH premises in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic provinces, and is aiming for 3.5 million premises passed by end-2017, in addition to around 4.9 million fibre-to-the-node (FTTN)/xDSL premises (which are expected to be progressively migrated to FTTH at an average rate of over 600,000 premises per annum).
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