Bell updates on Québec’s broadband Internet initiative


With a year to go until the planned completion of Québec’s Operation High Speed initiative, Bell confirms that all of the solutions put in place for the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are paying off. In preparation for this vast project, Bell has implemented many resources for support and training to facilitate the ISPs’ work. However, Bell is also highlighting concerns about the successful completion of the initiative by the September 2022 deadline.

While most of the ISPs involved are taking the project process seriously and have accelerated their infrastructure access requests, many are facing significant challenges that could impact project delivery.

As of today, with one year to go before the September 30, 2022 deadline, many ISPs are far from delivering the access requests at the necessary pace. In fact, Bell has received barely half of the requests required in the agreements with the Québec government. While the pace has improved recently, a backlog has already been accumulated in the first five months of the operation.

Bell keeps the government informed of the progress of infrastructure access requests on a weekly basis and provides ongoing collaboration to support ISPs experiencing delays.

“For the ISPs who are working to make Operation High Speed a reality, the coordinated infrastructure permit process is working very well and we thank them for moving the project forward, however, the permit requests received to date are not sufficient,” said Karine Moses, Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec. “The tight timeline set out in the agreements for the full deployment of high-speed Internet causes significant challenges, compounded by a shortage of skilled labour, such as pole planters and other specialized professionals at the heart of the necessary infrastructure work, in addition to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the supply chain. This only further underscores the need for all ISPs involved to step up their game quickly, otherwise we may collectively face the unfortunate prospect of seeing the Operation High-Speed deadline pushed back significantly.”

Operation High Speed is based on an unprecedented investment to bring broadband Internet connections to residents and business throughout Québec, involving the Québec and federal governments, ISPs of all sizes, infrastructure owners like Bell, Hydro-Québec and TELUS, skilled workers throughout Québec, and a broad range of equipment suppliers and services.

Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media and business communications services throughout the country.