Nortel, Bell Canada Research Rural Divide

Bell Canada, Nortel to help bridge digital divide in Chapleau, Ontario

July 14, 2005

3 Min Read

CHAPLEAU, Ont. -- Bell Canada and Nortel (NYSE:NT)(TSX:NT), and the Town of Chapleau, Ontario, today launched Project Chapleau, a joint initiative to research the impact of advanced technology on rural and dispersed communities.

Project Chapleau will evaluate the positive effect of technology and how it stimulates economic, healthcare, education and social activity in the community. The two companies will contribute technology and other resources to enable broadband access service in Chapleau, as well the applications necessary to fully leverage this technology.

"This is a transformation project -- one that holds the promise of economic viability for our community," said Chapleau Mayor Earle Freeborn. "The support of Bell Canada and Nortel is crucial to communities such as ours, not only in providing technology and applications that we would not have access to, but in bringing partnerships together that will help us move forward on many levels."

"Over the next 18 months, we will work with Bell Canada and Nortel to analyze the long-term economic needs of the community and determine how to best use these new broadband services and business-driven applications to further and improve the quality of life for our citizens," Mayor Freeborn said.

Chapleau is a Northern Ontario community of approximately 3,000 people and lies about 320 kilometers northeast of Sault Ste. Marie. Chapleau, whose main industries are rail transportation and forestry, is located within the Boreal Forest Region and the Arctic Watershed. The community is locally known as the gateway to the world's largest Crown nature preserve -- the 700,000-hectare Chapleau Crown Game Preserve.

Deployment of broadband access and applications in the community is expected to stimulate economic growth, social development and education. For example, new online tourism programs will help attract new visitors and businesses. Access to new telemedicine will help Chapleau's network of health professionals improve quality of care. Broadband e-learning services will provide new and exciting opportunities for both students and teachers in local schools. "This is a partnership that will deliver real solutions to the challenges facing rural and remote communities in today's technology driven economy," said Lawson Hunter, executive vice-president and chief corporate officer, BCE and Bell Canada. "Bell Canada is proud to be working together with Chapleau and Nortel to stimulate community development and quality of life."

The two companies will help Chapleau bridge the digital divide, connect and ultimately compete with other communities worldwide. As part of this technology showcase, Nortel plans to contribute wireless mesh, optical, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and multimedia communications solutions, as well as to provide installation and professional services for the entire project. Bell Canada plans to upgrade its fiber network into Chapleau and will operate as the service provider for the town's new network. These technology donations, applications and know-how will help remove the economic barriers to delivery of advanced services in the area.

BCE Inc.

Nortel Networks Ltd.

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