Bell Aliant

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Bell Aliant Inc.
Private subsidiary
Industry Communications Services
Founded 1999
Headquarters Atlantic Canada
Key people
Karen Sheriff[1] (President and CEO)
Products Fixed line, Fixed Broadband, IPTV
Increase$2.1 billion CAD (2005)[2]
>$212 million
Total assets $4.1 billion
Number of employees
2000 (2009)
Parent BCE
Website Bell Aliant Home Page

Bell Aliant Inc. (Formerly Aliant Telecom Inc.) is a communications company providing services in various areas throughout Atlantic Canada.

Bell Canada, which had been the largest shareholder in the company and most of its predecessors throughout their respective histories, took full ownership of Bell Aliant in late 2014.[3] In announcing these plans, Bell Canada indicated that the Bell Aliant brand name will continue to be used in Atlantic Canada.[4]


The current firm is the successor to Aliant Telecom Inc, formed from the 1999 merger of Maritime Telephone and Telegraph Company (MT&T), Island Telecom (which had been majority-owned by MT&T), Bruncor (parent of NBTel), and NewTel Enterprises (parent of NewTel Communications), then the four main incumbent telephone companies in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador respectively. Bell Canada was the largest shareholder of MT&T, Bruncor, and NewTel prior to the merger, and received a 53% stake in the merged company, Aliant. At the time that Aliant Inc. was being formed, the executives of the four merging companies agreed to a co-operative management strategy which would see no specific province have a Bell Aliant head office; instead the headquarters functions would be spread across its constituent companies.

Bell Aliant Tower in Moncton

On March 7, 2006, Bell and Aliant announced[5] plans to merge Aliant's operations into those of Bell. Specifically, Aliant's "high growth" wireless and retail (DownEast) networks would be folded into Bell's wholly owned Bell Mobility and Bell World operations, respectively. Aliant, under a new income trust structure, would acquire Bell's "regional" landline operations (i.e. outside of major city centres) in Ontario and Quebec. This created the significant challenges involved with merging English-speaking operations with French-speaking operations.[citation needed] The transaction was completed[6] on July 7, 2006, and saw the appointment of Stephen Wetmore, formerly of Bell, as President and CEO. Bell Canada retained 45% of the restructured Aliant. Fund units representing about 28.5% of Bell Aliant were distributed to shareholders of Bell's parent company, BCE. Shareholders of the former Aliant Inc. received units representing 26.5% of the firm. (The company would convert back to a regular corporation at the end of 2010.)

NBTel Phone Booth
Bell Aliant logo used until August 2008
Aliant logo used prior to the change of name to Bell Aliant.
Maritime Centre, Bell Aliant's Halifax office.

The purpose was to separate out the more stable (or low-growth) parts of Bell's holdings, i.e. wireline operations in markets with relatively little competition, to satisfy investors. The restructuring was not expected to have any effect on end consumers in terms of existing pricing or bundling practices. Meanwhile, Bell Canada proper continues to have full control over its wireless and satellite/cable operations throughout Canada, as well as wireline operations in major centres such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and surrounding areas.

Bell Aliant has also assumed Bell's 63.4% interests in both NorthernTel and Télébec. Since January 30, 2007, both are 100%-owned by Bell Aliant. Both firms continue to operate their own wireless networks.


In late 2009, Bell Aliant launched its Fibe services with deployment commencing in New Brunswick and was the first in Canada to cover an entire city with fibre to the home (FTTH) technology. Simultaneous deployments followed in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in 2010-2011 with the services available to approximately 1,000,000 homes and businesses by end of 2014.[7][8] The Fibe services will cover an entire urban area with a fibre optic network to offer IPTV, Internet and home phone. This is an evolution of earlier efforts that saw Bell Aliant predecessor NBTel deploy television services in the Saint John, New Brunswick urban area in the 1990s, followed by a similar deployment in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[9] The new FibreOP network provides Internet speeds of up to 940 Mbit/s down and 100 Mbit/s up[8][10] and will be bundled with Bell Aliant's television and residential telephone services.[8][11]

On January 1, 2013, Bell Aliant completed its purchase of Dryden Municipal Telephone Service (DMTS), a municipal telephone utility in Dryden, Ontario.[12] Bell Aliant plans on continuing to use the DMTS brand name.

On July 23, 2014, Bell Canada's parent company BCE Inc., which at that point owned 44% of Bell Aliant, announced plans to take the latter company private through a combination of cash and BCE stock, in a transaction valued at C$3.95 billion. The deal is not expected to require a lengthy regulatory-approval process as BCE is already considered the controlling shareholder of Bell Aliant, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.[4] On October 3, BCE announced it had acquired over 90% of shares through its offer, enough to trigger a compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares which was completed on October 31.[3]

In October 2014, Bell Aliant completed its acquisition of Ontera, the telecommunications division of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (a Crown agency of the Government of Ontario).[13]

On July 19, 2016 Bell Canada released a news statement stating that FiberOP would be transforming into Fibe bringing it in line with Bell Canada's branding for the service.[14]


Currently, the company operates as "Bell Aliant" in Atlantic Canada. The Atlantic Canada services were known as simply "Aliant" until summer 2008. Similarly, the former Aliant wireless and retail networks initially operated under the "Aliant" brand in Atlantic Canada, albeit now under the direct control of Bell. Wireless services transitioned to the Bell brand in April 2008.[15]

In Atlantic Canada, Bell Aliant's services include high-speed and dial-up internet access, wireline telephone service, and IPTV cable television. Its main competitors are the region's incumbent cable providers, EastLink and Rogers Communications, who had eroded on Bell Aliant's market share until mid-2009,[16] at which time Bell Aliant launched Fibe, and as of mid-2011 was available to 294,000 homes and businesses in Atlantic Canada.


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