Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) Inc. continued its expansion into the content market Monday with the announcement it will carry television signals over its Internet connections in some parts of Toronto and Montreal.
Fibe TV uses the same brand name as the Internet service Bell Canada offers to customers using Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Line, or VDSL2, which provides a maximum download speed of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps). It entails a fibre connection to the central office and a copper local loop to the premises.
A Bell spokesperson declined to offer details, for competitive reasons, on the quality of service measures it has in place for Fibe TV, or on the switching and routing products.
The move comes the week after Bell announced its intent to acquire a controlling interest in the CTV television network. Bell currently is a minority shareholder of CTVglobemedia Inc., which currently includes The Globe and Mail newspaper. If that deal is approved, Bell would buy out the other shareholders, including the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, Torstar Corp. and Woodbridge Co. Ltd. Woodbridge would take control of The Globe and Mail. Woodbridge is a media holding company owned by David Thomson, grandson of Roy Thomson, who founded the newspaper chain bearing the family name in the 1930s.
So if the deals are approved, the Thomsons would regain control of The Globe and Mail while Bell Canada would control CTV's 27 local stations, The Sports Network (TSN) and its specialty channels, including Much Music, Much More Retro, Space and Bravo.
Although Fibe does not include a fibre optic connection to the premises, Bell is still adding fibre optic cabling to the node, or FTTN, to support VDSL2, plus fibre to the home in the Quebec City region.
Bell has been at loggerheads with independent Internet service providers who resell Bell service over access to the new fibre networks.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled last month that incumbent providers and cable firms must provide their wholesale providers access to the Internet at the same speeds they provide their own retail customers.
Bell officials, including CEO George cope and the company’s senior vice-president for regulatory and government affairs, Mirko Babic, have complained this means Bell is building fibre infrastructure and forced by the federal government to provide access to that infrastructure to competitors who are not investing in fibre. Both have said this will slow down Bell’s efforts to build fibre to the node in smaller centres such as London, Ontario, Canada’s 12-largest city.