Bell to accelerate internet, cell service in Innovation Alley
Published Tuesday, September 27, 2016 2:42PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, September 27, 2016 5:54PM CST
Bell is promising to accelerate download speeds and cell service in Manitoba if its purchase of MTS is approved by regulators.
Bell, which owns CTV News, announced Tuesday the launch of Gigabit Fibe Internet and LTE Advanced wireless for an area which covers four city blocks in Winnipeg’s West Exchange District
The space is called Innovation Alley and serves as a hub for innovators and entrepreneurs.
Bell Canada President and CEO George Cope said the services in Innovation Alley will be up and running within 180 days of closing the deal to buy MTS.
Permission Click co-founder & CEO Chris Johnson launched his company from Innovation Alley two years ago.
The company specializes in providing digital permission slips for schools and other organizations.
Permission Click has 65,000 users and 20 full-time employees.
Johnson said faster internet and improved cell service in Innovation Alley will help entrepreneurs launch more technology-based businesses in Winnipeg.
“It’s sort of game-changing for any company, us included, down here,” said Johnson. “We run our business on the web. When we’re demonstrating our product to the largest school districts in the country, that’s happening online and we’re interacting with our clients and we’ve never met them before, we cannot have a video conference drop, we cannot have a software demonstration drop.”
“We need to have the best minds have access to what we’re doing and that’s what this does for us.”
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said innovation and entrepreneurship are both keys to growing the province’s economy.
“I’m not a tech guy but I know a lot of people are in this province and it’s growing,” said Pallister. “Here’s one example where these improvements will assist those who are involved in innovation, involved in the tech sector tremendously.”
For Manitobans wondering about improvements to cell service in other parts of the province, Cope said Bell eventually plans to roll out LTE Advanced elsewhere.
"In terms of LTE Advanced it starts here (in Innovation Alley) and then everywhere we have wireless coverage it will happen in this province,” Cope told reporters. “We'll give the timeframe once we get through the transaction and get it closed."
Cope said LTE Advanced wireless service is four times faster than regular LTE.
It's all part of Bell's plan to invest $1 billion in Manitoba over five years.
Bell has promised to improve broadband services in Churchill and expand wireless coverage along Highway 75 in southern Manitoba.
The company is also promising the expansion of mobile and broadband services in parts of northern Manitoba along Highway 6 to Thompson, in Flin Flon and five First Nations communities.