Bell Aliant sees slight Q4 09 decline, plans FTTH expansion

Bell Aliant's 2.2 percent revenue decline in Q4 2009 to $2.99 billion illustrates the common theme that no traditional telco can fully escape: that landline local and long-distance voice is a struggling business.

During Q4 09, Bell Aliant's local and long distance revenue declined 4.1 percent and 9.1 percent. At the same time, the service provider saw its Internet business increase 7.2 percent, while IT grew 14.2 percent during the quarter.

While revenues did decline, the service provider saw EBIDTA rise 1 percent to $16 million, while capex spending declined $46 million to $121 million due to a 'streamlined' spending program and the completion of a wireless backhaul network project for Bell Mobility that it began in Q4 08.  

One area that Bell Aliant plans on putting a major emphasis on in 2010 is Fiber to the Home, a process it began last September in its Fredericton, New Brunswick market. Set to be launched in specific communities later this year, Bell Aliant's FibreOp service will pass 140,000 homes by the end of this year.

"With this investment we are accelerating and leveraging our natural assets of aerial footprint and low density geography to invest for the future," said Karen Sheriff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bell Aliant. "We expect to continue to gain efficiencies in our capital programme, and this, in combination with the completion of a significant capital project in 2009, will allow us to advance our fibre network this year without increasing our overall capital spending from 2009 levels."

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