Bell intends to cut its CAPEX by more than $1 billion in 2024-25, posing a threat to the expansion of its fiber network. In 2024 alone, the company plans to reduce investment by a minimum of $500 to $600 million, originally allocated for bringing high-speed fiber Internet to additional homes and businesses in rural, suburban, and urban areas.
This reduction follows Bell's decision to decrease its 2023 CAPEX budget by $100 million, anticipating the CRTC's unwavering pursuit of wholesale access at the expense of crucial network investment.
Bell's fiber network, currently available to over seven million homes and businesses, had initially aimed to reach nine million locations by the end of 2025. However, the company will now reassess pending builds in communities slated for expansion, revising its 2025 build target to 8.3 million locations.
The rollback of fiber network expansion directly correlates with the CRTC's decision, impeding access to FTTP networks in western Canada, where over three million fiber locations were expected to be passed.
Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, stated, "Since 2020, we have invested over $18 billion in our networks, expanding high-speed fiber Internet to over three million homes and businesses across Québec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and Manitoba. When public policy conditions in telecommunications support major investments and job creation, Canadians in small and large communities benefit directly from the best network technology available."
Over the past four years, Bell's network expansion has brought high-speed fiber Internet to hundreds of communities in Québec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and Manitoba.