Monday 30 September 2013

Bell Aliant FibreOP Roll Out Sault Ste Marie

I recently attended a presentation by the Bell Aliant manager with overall responsibility for Bell’s Fibre to the Home (FTTH) or FibreOP project in Sault Ste. Marie.  FibreOP brings an end-to-end fibre optic connection from the core network to a demarcation point (or demarc) on the customer’s premise. Connectivity within the house is provided by Cat 5 or 6 cables, a standard wireless router or a combination of media.

You will note that it is Bell Aliant and not Bell or BCE that is responsible for the project. Bell Aliant was originally formed to serve the Maritime Provinces by combining the former provincial based operating entities into one. In 2006, parts of Ontario and Quebec were added to the mix, including Northern Telecom and Télébec, with the intent of forming an Income Trust. When new federal regulations came into effect prohibiting Income Trusts, Bell Aliant remained as the principal operating company in the affected area.  

After a successful roll-out of FibreOP in major Atlantic area cities, Bell Aliant decided to roll out the product in the four largest cities in Northeastern Ontario. The Bell Aliant parent company, BCE, issued a press release on 22 May 2013 announcing the project for Sault Ste. Marie.  

The plan is to have FibreOP passing about 50% of the residences in the Sault within the next two years. FibreOP is a residential, as opposed to a commercial, product line. It is intended for residential buildings with four or less units with the emphasis on single unit dwellings.  The project is not proposed for larger multi-unit complexes at this time.

The preferred construction method is aerial cable on existing pole-lines. This is an economically driven decision. This means, if your area of the city has buried or underground cable distribution, it is highly unlikely FibreOP will be coming to your neighbourhood in the near future. 

The plan is to roll out FibreOP from Bell’s downtown location in three phases over the next couple of years. The first will be towards the East end, then the West end and finally the North Central area.

Because of the lengthy construction period and somewhat sketchy coverage, there will not be an extensive marketing effort per se. Areas served by FibreOP will be made aware of the fact by targetted advertising and door-to-door notification.

FibreOP offers three major services: - FibreOP lnternet, FibreOP TV, and FibreOP Home Phone. These services are available as a bundle or individually. 

FibreOP Internet comes in two levels with download/upload speeds of 20/15 Mbps; or 50/30 Mbps. There are no cap limits on the amount of data transfer.

FibreOP TV has up to 223 channels and various hardware offerings available.

Full details of the plans are available at the FibreOP website.



  1. Anyone heard anything further about Bell FiberOP rollout in SSM? Hoping the pole issue gets resolved and the rollout picks up again. Seems like an issue our community could solve with organizations such as the Innovation center.

  2. Nothing concrete from my end.

    There are a lot of rumours about pole agreements and other right-of-way issues but nothing I can substantiate.

    The other major rumour area concerns loss of funding at the corporate level needed to continue the rollout due to a low take up rate of the infrastructure installed to date. Again, nothing I can substantiate.

  3. any update on this 3 years later

    1. Nothing new that I am aware of at this time. Bell appears to be concentrating on rolling out fibre optics in major urban areas such as Toronto and Ottawa. Bell Aliant seems to be working on the Maritime Region.