Bell Canada on track to hit 900k new fiber passings in 2021

Niagara Falls, Canada
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Bell Canada revealed plans to deliver fiber to 2,000 new locations in the Niagara region as it pushes toward a goal of reaching 850,000 to 900,000 new passings by the end of 2021.

Earlier in August, Bell Canada announced it would also extend fiber to a total of 3,700 rural locations in Rawdon, Sainte-Adèle and Roxton Pond this year.

The builds are part of a plan announced in February to accelerate capital investments in fiber and 5G over the next two years, with the goal of increasing Bell Canada’s broadband footprint to a total of 6.9 million locations by end-2021.

During the operator’s recent Q2 earnings call, CEO Mirko Bibic stated it served either direct fiber or fixed wireless internet to a total of 347,000 new homes and businesses in the first half of the year. He added with another 257,000 locations currently under construction it remains “on track” to hit its year-end target.

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A Bell Canada representative told Fierce the fiber projects announced this month following the earnings call were included in the 257,000 locations Bibic mentioned.

On the call, the CEO noted it added more than 27,000 new retail fiber customers in Q2, an increase of 80% year on year. However, accounting for losses among DSL subscribers, total retail net additions came in just below 18,000. He stated residential fiber customers now represent more than 50% of its total retail internet customer base, which stood at 3.75 million as of the end of Q2.

Bibic said it is seeing “tremendous growth in net adds” where it has a fiber footprint, but continues to see competitive pressure in its DSL footprint “which speaks to the importance of us continuing to accelerate the fiber build-out.”