At a news conference held in downtown Toronto on June 25, 2015, Bell Canada officially announced the launch of its new Gigabit Fibe Internet. Billed as the fastest Internet in North America, the new service represents an investment of $1.14 billion, which help to create the largest gigabit infrastructure project in Canada.
“This is the largest and most ambitious gigabit project in our 135-year history,” said Bell Canada president and CEO George Cope.
“What will happen over the coming months and the next three years (will be) the most incredible transformation of broadband you will ever see,” Cope continued. “Gigabit Fibe will enable the fastest Internet services available anywhere on the planet today, and in the future will ensure Toronto leads the world of broadband.”
Gigabit Fibe Internet will initially be made available to 50,000 homes and businesses in Toronto this summer, with the plan to have it available in 1.1 million homes by the end of 2020. The service will debut with a top speed of 940 megabits per second, and will eventually increase to 1,000 megabits or faster by 2016.
Future expansion of the project will see the service made available in other cities within Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces. Bell plans to launch Gigabit Fibe in selected Atlantic locales later this summer.
Speed is one of the key selling points of Gigabit Fibe. It will enable users to download up to 100 photos in as little as three seconds, and a full HD movie in as little as seven.
“The city has seen more Internet usage, and people want to download things faster because they are becoming more impatient,” said Stephen Howe, executive vice president and CTO of Bell Canada.
“That drives the need for more bandwidth, especially for homes with multiple devices. We have seen that various communities across North America are going with fibre (Internet) as a result.”
The choice to use Toronto as the launch city for the service was a direct result of Bell’s already large footprint within the city, along with some cooperation from City Hall.
“We chose Toronto because we have a lot of our own field force (operations) here,” Howe explained. “The mayor has been very cooperative, and the city has been excellent in working with us to ensure that we are moving faster with our deployment so we can get it to our customers quicker.”
In addition to giving Toronto’s broadband Internet service a much-needed shot in the arm, Gigabit Fibe will also create 2,400 new jobs in Toronto and a total of 8,000 new jobs across Ontario. The decision to make Toronto the launch city also represents a key evolution for Toronto’s infrastructure, and Bell’s willingness to invest in the city.
“My principal responsibility as the mayor is to attract jobs and investment (to Toronto), and ensure these jobs and investments stay here,” said Toronto mayor John Tory.
“If people are well- and securely-employed, they are going to be able to better provide for their families and afford housing in a city that is very expensive to live (in),” Tory added. “This announcement from Bell is hugely important for the city, and it is the kind of thing we’re going to have to do to build a more prosperous and fair city, going forward.”
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