Bell Aliant Rings Up 170-Meg Tier

Bell Aliant is upping the speed ante again against Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) in Canada with the launch of a "FibreOP" Internet service tier in parts of New Brunswick that tops out at 170 Mbit/s downstream and 30 Mbit/s upstream.

Bell Aliant, which is 44 percent owned by BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), is selling the C$249 (US$246.4) tier in greater Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton -- core cities in the province. The new tier outpaces its previous fastest tier of 70 Mbit/s down and 15 Mbit/s upstream. Both are a notch above Rogers's "Ultimate" Docsis 3.0 service, which offers downstream bursts of 50 Mbit/s down and 2 Mbit/s upstream, and is subject to a monthly usage cap of 175 gigabytes. (See Bell Aliant Revs Up 170-Meg Fiber Tier.)

Bell Aliant launched its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) last July, and anticipates completing the New Brunswick buildout sometime next year, according to a spokesperson. Its fiber network passed about 74,000 homes and businesses at the end of the second quarter of 2010, but the company has recently announced it had earmarked another C$350 million (US$346.3 million), bringing the total investment to about C$500 million (US$494.8 million), to have its FTTH network pass up to 600,000 by the end of 2012 as it reaches into new areas, including Sidney, Nova Scotia.

Bell Aliant and Rogers speed wrangling hasn't been limited to the consumer and business markets. In May, a New Brunswick court served Rogers with an injunction to stop it from using advertising claiming the MSO had the "fastest and most reliable" high-speed Internet product.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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