SaskTel to spend $55 million to up rural DSL speeds, enhance optical transport

SaskTel revealed this week during the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) 2013 Annual Convention that it would spend CAD 57 million (USD 55.4 million) over the next seven years to better serve its rural customer base.

Under the seven-year program, SaskTel will install new fiber and associated equipment to stay apace of growth of both its wireline- and wireless-based voice, video and data services, in addition to ensuring the reliability and survivability of its existing network.

Serving as the backbone of this network initiative will be a new fiber backbone the company will install in North Eastern Saskatchewan.

On the wireline side, the telco is particularly focused on increasing its existing DSL speeds in 200 communities, including more rural communities, throughout this year and into 2014.

SaskTel will upgrade communities that currently can get 1.5 Mbps to 5 Mbps, and communities that can get 5 Mbps service currently will receive 10 Mbps in the future.

Last August, SaskTel announced it would spend CAD 28 million (USD 29.2 million) on its Rural Infrastructure Program, which includes CAD 15.6 million (USD 16.3 million) to upgrade 220 basic DSL communities from 1.5 Mbps to 5 Mbps by the end of the year, and another CAD 12.5 million (USD 13 million) to improve its existing wireless network. Since March 2010, SaskTel has upgraded 209 communities to the higher DSL speeds.

But DSL is just one part of SaskTel's overall broadband ambitions.

The telco is also moving ahead with its $915 million Next Generation Broadband Access Program, which will provide FTTP (fiber to the premises)-based services to eight of its largest urban centers--Dalmeny, Estevan, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton.

It began offering FTTP services, allowing consumers and businesses to access data speeds of up to 200/60 Mbps, under its infiNET banner last August.

For more:
- see the release

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