Taxpayers fund Aliant PEI fibre optic network

More press release journalism from CBC and Journal Pioneer Guardian

Premier Ghiz dazzled by technology again and giving away money to Aliant’s CEO Karen Sheriff with Peter Lawlor of ITAP (photo Brian Simpson)

Bell Aliant announced on Wednesday that it is building out the fibre optic network to include Summerside and Charlottetown, PEI in 2011.

Other Maritime cities like Halifax and Moncton already had Bell Aliant fibre optic networks.

Summerside and Charlottetown have the high speed fibre optic already from EastLink for more than a year. Aliant is responding to competitive pressures to match EastLink in those centres.
Aliant had no intention of extending the service to PEI until Premier Ghiz offered to give them a $300,000 grant and extend the non-tendered contract for telecom services for another two years.
Fibre optic networks provide faster internet speeds and allow the distribution of high definition TV over the internet. Bell Aliant will be offering HD TV in competition with its satellite based BellExpressVu and EastLink’s HD TV over fibre cable.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick didn’t have to offer Aliant anything. However, PEI is totally under the spell of Aliant and has been overly generous with taxpayer’s money in supporting Bell.

“What bothers me about the $300,000 deal the Premier brokered yesterday with Aliant,” said Conservative MLA Mike Currie “is that  East Link went out on its own and laid fibre optic in the Summerside and Charlottetown areas  one-and-a-half years ago, and they did it on their own expense.”
“It appears to me  that Aliant will only do work on P.E.I. when it is subsidized by government.”
Currie went on to blast the Liberals for their cozy deal with Aliant.
“What’s worse is that the Premier has once again signed an untendered, sole-sourced contract  with Aliant and snuck in a three-year extended contract for obsolete telephone services that will  not only stifle further investment in this province but deter companies from doing infrastructure  upgrades to improve their services.”
Two years ago, Premier Ghiz gave an untendered contract for services to Aliant causing a revolt in Liberal Cynthia Dunsford’s riding. Her riding president Wellington Gay quit when Eastlink his employer was not allowed to bid on telecom services. Ghiz summarily awarded the contract to Aliant in exchange for the promise of high-speed internet in rural PEI. Liberal party executive and workers revolt.
Rural PEI got slow speed internet instead but Aliant was never forced to meet their commitment.  More bafflegab from the Minister who told the truth about PNP
“Islanders can only benefit when competition is allowed in the marketplace, but the Premier has sent out a clear signal that the only company he wants to deal with is Aliant,” said Currie.
“Why would companies like East Link or Rogers even bother to upgrade their services here when  they are not allowed to compete for business on a level playing field. Aliant has a competitive  advantage, only because this Premier continues to run the show and it’s not fair to Islanders , or  other IT companies.”
EastLink do compete quite well on service and the new fibre optic network from Bell Aliant is only playing catchup with Eastlink.

Media print press release again
Both CBC and the Guardian / Journal Pioneer (Transcontinental) lazily or slavishly re-printer the PEI Government press release on Aliant’s fibre optics expansion.
CBC leads the reader to believe that PEI is getting fibre optics for the first time in their story Fibre optic network comes to P.E.I. Of course, that’s not true. Eastlink already has a privately funded fibre optics network on PEI. Back in 2007/2008 the government laid 230 km of fibre jointly with ISN Wireless.
You have to read the comments to discover the backstory on this one, as usual. The government and corporations publish their spin stories and the media just print it to fill the space.
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network


  1. Then why hasn’t Eastlink offered this service to homes? BellAliant is going to bundle offers which includes the Fiber network directly to my house.. does Eastlink offer this currently? If so.. I haven’t heard of it..

  2. Your story reads like fiction, please at least check one fact next time.

    (1) Moncton and Halifax dont have this.
    (2) NB & NS dcomment_ID’t get it without subscomment_IDy

  3. What a one scomment_IDed biased story. For one Eastlink received millions from the fed and NS governments to roll out rural broadband in Nova Scotia and we find out Aliant actually under bcomment_ID them. So Eastlink got millions more government funding due to their higher bcomment_ID. Eastlink benefits from being able to price their phone service however they please Aliant cannot without approval from CRTC in unregulated areas ie more government indirect subscomment_IDies. Eastlink’s success is almost totally due to government help and regulations.

    Eastlink does not offer fibre to the home. Their DOCSIS 3.0 cannot compete with FTTH. Their top speed 100 mbps FibreOP is 170 mbps. Halifax does not have FTTH. I think you need me as your fact checker.

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