March 10, 2010
SaskTel will invest $239 million in its Saskatchewan network in 2010. Residential and business customers in communities across the province can expect improved and expanded SaskTel services as a result of this latest major capital investment.
“SaskTel’s commitment to providing a world class communications network for Saskatchewan is clear with this latest announcement,” Minister Responsible for SaskTel Don Morgan said. “Saskatchewan residents can look forward to a new 3G wireless network, faster high speed internet service and Max expansion.”
“Since 1987 we’ve invested more than $3.5 billion in our network,” SaskTel President and CEO Robert Watson said. “This year’s network investment will help to ensure that Saskatchewan’s best network is current and competitive well into the future.”
Highlights of this year’s investment program include:
- In 2010, SaskTel will invest $88 million to continue construction of a new $172 million Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)/High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) wireless network, which is the next evolution of GSM technology. UMTS/HSPA is a next generation wireless network which will enable SaskTel customers to enjoy the benefits of using UMTS/HSPA compatible cellular & data devices. The first phase of the new network build, which will provide coverage in the major Saskatchewan centers, is expected to be available in mid-2010. Full coverage, similar to today’s digital cellular coverage, is anticipated to be available in 2011.
- SaskTel will invest $48 million to continue the Rural Infrastructure Program to deliver 100% high speed internet coverage and to build 55 new cellular towers to improve wireless coverage across the province within three years.
- SaskTel will reach 100% high speed internet coverage in 2010 following the launch of high speed internet service from private sector partners RFNow and YourLink in 15 communities.
- In 2010, SaskTel will invest $17 million to expand and improve its existing wireless network, including the addition of new digital cellular sites across the province, scheduled to be complete in 2011. (See Appendix for a list of 2010-2011 locations.)
- This year, SaskTel will invest $31 million to expand rural broadband. This includes upgrading the rural backbone infrastructure to provide an enhanced transport network that will upgrade existing basic high speed internet service (from 1.5 Mpbs to 5 Mpbs download speeds) in over 200 communities by the end of 2010.
- Next Generation Access Infrastructure (NGAI) – Initiated in 2006, NGAI is a five-year $310 million program to offer increased bandwidth by providing fiber optic cable closer to customer homes and businesses. In 2010, the fourth year of the NGAI program, SaskTel will invest a total of approximately $11 million to continue to increase the bandwidth of SaskTel’s access network.
- Evolving SaskTel’s leading-edge Max™ Entertainment Services – Max is a full-featured digital television service with more than 190 digital TV channels, 42 HD channels, Digital TV Recorder, High Speed Internet, Video-on-Demand, Pay-Per-View and Local on Demand. SaskTel will invest approximately $7 million in Max this year to expand the service to new communities, meet customer demand and make ongoing enhancements. (SaskTel recently announced that it will invest $22 million to expand the Next Generation Access Infrastructure program (NGAI) to 14 more communities over the next two years. The project will expand Max™ Entertainment Services and offer higher internet speeds to those communities by the end of 2011.)
- Other network expenditures – $26 million, which includes:
- High speed internet expansion for First Nations (dependent upon additional federal funding) – $6 million.
- Fiber to the premise (a technology to deliver increased bandwidth by connecting fiber optic cable to the customer premise) – $9 million.
- Basic network growth and enhancements – $59 million.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation (SaskTel) is the leading full service communications provider in Saskatchewan, with $1.138 billion in annual revenue and over 1.3 million customer connections including over 510,000 wireless accesses, 555,000 wireline network accesses, 216,000 internet accesses and 76,000 Max™ (TV) subscribers. SaskTel offers a wide range of communications products and services including competitive voice, data, internet, entertainment, national security, messaging, cellular, wireless data and directory services. In addition, SaskTel International offers software solutions and project consulting in countries around the world. In 2008, SaskTel contributed over $610 million to the Saskatchewan economy through dollars spent with Saskatchewan-based suppliers and sponsorships to non-profit organizations. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have a workforce of approximately 5,000 employees. Visit SaskTel at www.sasktel.com.
For more information, please contact:
Andy Tate, SaskTel Media Relations
Phone: (306) 777-4548
Appendix: 2010-2011 Cellular Expansion Locations*
Candle Lake Northwest
Cloan North Highway #40
Spy Hill/Carlton Trails
Bittern Lake/Anglin Lake
North St. Walburg
South La Ronge
*These sites will be implemented using UMTS/HSPA technology.