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Bell Aliant Regional Communications
Type Public
(TSXBA.UN)
Founded 1999
Headquarters Atlantic Canada (decentralized upper management)
Key people Karen Sheriff [1] (President and CEO)
Industry Communications Services
Operating income $2.1 billion CAD (2005)[2]
Employees 10,000 (2006)[2]
Parent Bell Canada (64%; controlling shareholder)
Website bell.aliant.ca

Bell Aliant Regional Communications is a communications company providing services primarily in rural areas throughout eastern Canada, as Bell Aliant in Atlantic Canada and as Bell in central Canada. It is publicly traded through the Bell Aliant Regional Communications Income Fund (TSXBA.UN), an income trust.

Bell Canada presently owns about 45% of the group and exercises management control. Fund units representing about 28.5% of Bell Aliant were distributed to shareholders of Bell's parent company, BCE. Shareholders of the former Aliant Inc. received units representing 26.5% of the firm.

Contents

History

NB-Tel Phone Booth

The current firm is the successor to Aliant Inc., formed from the 1999 merger of Maritime Telephone and Telegraph Company (MTT), Island Telecom, Bruncor (parent of NBTel), and NewTel Enterprises (parent of NewTel Communications), then the four main incumbent telephone companies in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador respectively. Aliant was approximately 53% owned by Bell Canada. At the time that Aliant Inc. was being formed, the executives of the 4 merging companies agreed to a co-operative management strategy which would see no specific province have a Bell Aliant head office; instead the headquarters functions would be spread across its constituent companies.

Bell Aliant Tower in Moncton

On March 7, 2006, Bell and Aliant announced plans to merge Aliant's operations into those of Bell. Specifically, Aliant's "high growth" wireless and retail (DownEast) networks would be folded into Bell's wholly owned Bell Mobility and Bell World operations, respectively. Aliant, under a new income trust structure, would acquire Bell's "regional" landline operations (i.e. outside of major city centres) in Ontario and Quebec. The transaction was completed on July 7, 2006, and saw the appointment of Stephen Wetmore, formerly of Bell, as President and CEO.

The purpose was to separate out the more stable (or low-growth) parts of Bell's holdings, i.e. wireline operations in markets with relatively little competition, to satisfy investors. The restructuring is not expected to have any effect on end consumers in terms of existing pricing or bundling practices. Meanwhile, Bell Canada proper continues to have full control over its wireless and satellite/cable operations throughout Canada, as well as wireline operations in major centres such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and surrounding areas.

Bell Aliant logo used until August 2008

Bell Aliant has also assumed Bell's 63.4% interests in both NorthernTel and Télébec. Since January 30, 2007, both are 100%-owned by Bell Aliant. Both firms continue to operate their own wireless networks.

In late 2009 Bell Aliant launched FibreOP in Fredericton, New Brunswick and plans to launch the same in Saint John, New Brunswick in 2010. This product covers the entire cities in a Fibre Optic network - a first of its kind in Canada[3], providing speeds of up to 35Mbps down and 10 Mbps up for Internet. It is also bundled with Bell Aliant's TV and Home Phone offer. In early 2010, Bell Aliant will begin offering internet speeds up to 60Mbps down and 15Mbps up on the FibreOP.[4]

Operations

Maritime Centre, Bell Aliant's Halifax office.

Currently, the company operates as "Bell Aliant" (simply "Aliant" until spring 2009) in Atlantic Canada and as "Bell" in Ontario and Quebec. Similarly, the former Aliant wireless and retail networks initially operated under the "Aliant" brand in Atlantic Canada, albeit now under the direct control of Bell. Wireless services transitioned to the Bell brand in April 2008.[5])

In Atlantic Canada, Bell Aliant's services include high-speed and dial-up internet access, wireline telephone service, and IPTV cable television. Its main competitors are the region's incumbent cable providers - EastLink (NS, rural NL and PEI) and Rogers Communications (NB and NL).

Services in Ontario and Quebec are similar, except that Bell Canada itself retains responsibility for any IPTV services there.

Project Cleanfeed Canada

In November 2006, to address the problem of the access and proliferation of pornography sites, especially by those under the age of majority, Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, MTS Allstream, Rogers, Shaw, SaskTel, Telus, and Vidéotron, in conjunction with cybertip.ca (a nationwide tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children), announced the creation of Project Cleanfeed Canada, an initiative designed to block access to hundreds of pornography sites. However, some critics denounce the initiative, saying that this amounts to nothing more than internet censorship.[6]

Sponsorship

Bell Aliant is a main sponsor of the 2009 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Other companies with similar names

Bell Aliant is not related to Aliant Communications, a former communications company based in Lincoln, Nebraska, which was acquired by Alltel in 1999. It is also not related to Alliant Energy, an electric company based in Wisconsin.

See also

External links

Aliant Billboard, Moncton, New Brunswick 2008

References

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