Bell promises faster internet in Innovation Alley if MTS deal approved
3-year sponsorship deal aims to bring faster broadband, wireless internet service
Digital creators and entrepreneurs at Innovation Alley, the technology hub in downtown Winnipeg, will get ultra-fast internet service if Bell's proposed purchase of Manitoba Telecom Services is approved by regulators.
BCE Inc., which owns Bell Canada, and MTS announced a three-year sponsorship deal on Tuesday to bring Bell's Gigabit Fibe internet service and high-speed LTE-advanced technology for wireless phones to Innovation Alley, a four-block area in the Exchange District that's home to technology developers, entrepreneurs and students.
The deal promises to bring faster broadband and wireless internet service, with speeds "up to 20 faster than those currently available in Manitoba," the company said in a news release.
Premier Brian Pallister praised the Bell-MTS announcement, saying the latest technology will help Manitoba grow in business.
"With this technology, we can build here. There's no better place to build than here. This is the place to be," Pallister said. "This is the province that's going to grow, but it will only grow with your help."
No dollar value was stated for the sponsorship deal, which is subject to regulatory approval of BCE's proposed $3.9-billion friendly takeover of MTS.
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The takeover bid already has the approval of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench and MTS shareholders but still needs federal approvals before it can proceed.
Innovation Alley will be the Winnipeg starting point for Bell's rollout of its Gigabit Fibe internet and LTE-advanced wireless service in the province, the company said.
Tuesday's announcement is part of Bell's broader promise to invest $1 billion over five years to improve broadband communications services across the province.
The company has already pledged to improve existing cellphone coverage in rural Manitoba and internet service in the province's north.
Some consumer groups and Manitoba's Opposition New Democrats are worried prices will rise sharply if the purchase of MTS goes through.
Pallister has said consumers may end up paying more but will be getting much better service.
With files from The Canadian Press