Telus' Entwistle: We're going directly to the premises with fiber

Telus sees that fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) will continue to play a bigger role in its last mile network, becoming the preferred future mechanism to deliver broadband services to consumers and businesses.


Speaking to investors during the first-quarter earnings call, Darren Entwistle, executive chairman for Telus, said that while it will consider other approaches, including a hybrid fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) approach, fiber is going to be the priority.

"The preponderance of our investment on a go-forward basis will be fiber-to-the-premises, and that would be the home as well as the business as well as key constituencies on the municipal front," Entwistle said during the earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "You could think of doc offices, pharmacies, health care clinics and the like. But we still take a hybrid approach and look at the economics of a particular deployment, which is why I've said for quite some time, when you look at the technology that we're deploying within our wireline access infrastructure, it's going to be heterogeneous, reflecting a significant push towards fiber but it's not exclusive in that regard, and it's a horses-for-courses type deployment, contingent upon whether it's a greenfield build or whether it's a brownfield build, what the access loop lengths are like, whether it's heavy urban, whether it's rural, whether it's apartment buildings and the like."

Entwistle added that the company has to look at what return on investment each deployment can bring, but emphasized it will lean toward equipping more premises with fiber.

"We customize the approach so that we can maximize the capital efficiency and get the desired economic return, but draw a line under it, more and more, we're going direct to the premises with fiber," Entwistle said.

Evidence of this trend continues to take hold at Telus. In April, the service provider announced that it would invest $52.3 million to upgrade its fiber-based wireline broadband services and wireless networks for residential and business customers throughout the Greater Québec City area this year.

Earlier in the month, Telus hatched plans to put FTTP service into the hands of more users in Alberta, Canada, thanks to a $3.4 billion investment through 2018.

Telus' comments come as fellow incumbent Canadian telco BCE moves forward with its FTTP deployment.

BCE, which now oversees the Bell Aliant FTTP assets, recently said that it would continue to expand its IPTV and FTTP footprint in the regions it serves.

"Approximately 2 million plus of our homes of course are fiber directly right to the premises, and we will continue to do two things, one, grow the IPTV footprint and the fiber footprint, and also continue to overlay, where we have fiber-to-the-node," said George Cope, president and CEO of BCE, during the earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "You are going to see us continue to migrate those clients and businesses to fiber right to the premises as well."

While he would not comment how broad the last mile expansion will be, Cope said that some of the targets to get FTTP next include Peterborough and Kingston.

"We are going to continue to expand the footprint, and we are going to continue to overlay footprint, and expand," Cope said. "There is no new footprint that we build that isn't fiber, and we are expanding. I mean, you will see the markets of Peterborough, Kingston are getting fiber into the marketplace, and we are just continuing on that path, and we will, quite frankly, in perpetuity, continue on that path."

For more:
- see Telus' Seeking Alpha transcript
- and BCE's Seeking Alpha transcript

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