BUSINESS

Bell Bringing World's Fastest Internet To Toronto, But Price Could Be An Issue

06/26/2015 09:09 EDT | Updated 06/26/2015 09:59 EDT
CP

Bell Canada is promising to bring some of the world’s fastest internet speeds to Torontonians starting this summer, part of a rollout of new technology the company says will create 2,400 new jobs.

Though Bell hasn’t announced pricing, critics fear the plan will prove to be prohibitively expensive.

Bell will start rolling out gigabit-per-second internet to 50,000 Toronto households this summer, expanding it to 1.1 million households over the next year and a half, the company said in a statement.

CEO George Cope told reporters the new service will be 20 times faster than the current average internet connection. Users will be able to download a high-definition movie in seven seconds, or an entire season of “Orphan Black” in high definition in two minutes, the company said in a statement.

Bell says it will invest some $1.14 billion in the project, and expects to expand to other cities in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada as early as this summer.

“This is something that quite frankly none of us could have imagined just a few years ago,” Cope said, as quoted at CP24.

Bell is following in the footsteps of Google, which is building out gigabit internet services in three U.S. cities -- Austin, Tex., Provo, Utah, and Kansas City -- and planning a rollout in five more, including Atlanta and Nasvhille.

But it’s almost certain that Bell’s service will be considerably more expensive than the Google Fiber service being rolled out south of the border, tech blogger Peter Nowak wrote Friday.

Nowak points out that Google Fiber customers pay $70 U.S. per month, while Bell’s fastest current speed (about one-sixth as fast as the gigabit service) costs $93.95 in Ontario.

“It’s a safe assumption that gigabit broadband is going to be more than that,” Nowak writes. “New network investment, as telecom companies routinely like to remind everyone, doesn’t grow on trees.”

Nowak points out that a similar gigabit internet service in the U.K. from telco TalkTalk will cost GBP21.40, or about $42 Canadian.

“That’s astonishing,” he comments.

Bell has said it won’t reveal pricing until the service is available.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, a former exec at Bell rival Rogers, welcomed the company's announcement.

“It is something that is going to make a big difference to people and to attract investment and jobs,” Tory said at a press conference, as quoted at the Toronto Star.

Bell says about 70 per cent of its gigabit connections in Toronto can be done through existing Toronto Hydro infrastructure, but the company will have to install new, last-mile technology to about 30 per cent of homes.

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