Major telecom plans huge investment in Hamilton's digital infrastructure


The City of Hamilton announced Thursday (Jan. 23) that a major Canadian telecom will be investing $400 million in updating the city's digital infrastructure.

In a press release, the City says that as part of the work of the Mayor’s Intelligent Community Task Force (MICTF) and ongoing efforts to improve digital infrastructure, Bell Canada will be investing approximately $400 million to expand broadband Internet access in urban and rural areas of Hamilton, the largest digital infrastructure investment in the City’s history.

This is the largest digital infrastructure investment in Hamilton's history, the release says.

"The City is proud to work with Bell," said Mayor Fred Eisenberger, "to enable its investment in the long-term growth and sustainability of Hamilton as we continue to increase our reliance on digital infrastructure”

Over the next five years, Bell and a Bell-funded team of City of Hamilton staff plan to bring direct fibre network connections to more than 200,000 homes and businesses throughout the City with zero cost to taxpayers, the release says.

The network is expected to provide consumers with access to data speeds up to 1.5 gigabits per second, which Bell claims is the fastest home Internet speeds in Canada.

“Long recognized as one of North America’s top manufacturing centres, [Hamilton] is also quickly becoming a leader in advanced technology and innovation," said J. Bruce Furlong, Bell's senior vice-president of access engineering and deployment.

"Our historic partnership will provide the critical infrastructure necessary to deliver the next generation of communications services to Hamiltonians while accelerating the City’s ongoing digital transformation.”

Working in partnership with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Digital Infrastructure Task Force, gaps in digital infrastructure across the community were identified.

Subsequently, the release says, the City worked to increase investment in digital infrastructure to address the gaps.

As part of the plan to enhance Hamilton’s standing as a Digital City, Eisenberger reportedly asked that broadband speeds be enhanced for all of urban Hamilton, business parks and major commercial areas, and rural areas in the community.

Additionally, the Bell project aims to expand high-speed Bell Wireless Home Internet service to 8,000 homes in rural Hamilton.

Bell will work in close co-operation with the City and local contractors, including Aecon, Telecon and Sentrex, throughout the project.

The majority of the network build will consist of new fibre installed underground, with additional fibre located on Bell, Hydro One and Alectra Utilities poles.

There's no word yet on when construction will get underway.

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