“Today’s announcement demonstrates SaskTel’s ongoing commitment to serving all areas of the province with technologically advanced communications services,” said Don McMorris, Minister Responsible for SaskTel. “SaskTel continues to be a world leader in providing Saskatchewan’s rural communities, which are such an important economic engine in this province, with high quality communications services.”
“We understand that our rural customers require increased bandwidth capabilities and enhanced communications services in order to compete in the global economy,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO.
At the SARM conference, Styles outlined details of the future initiatives targeted to enhancing communications for rural Saskatchewan, including:
• A $57 million initiative from 2013 to 2020 for the installation of new fibre and equipment to upgrade rural transport capacity to accommodate rural growth of fixed and mobile, voice, video, and data services, as well as provide better reliability and survivability for the existing network
• Installation of a fibre backbone for North Eastern Saskatchewan
• Increasing available wireline broadband speeds and services to rural communities - SaskTel will upgrade speeds in over 200 existing DSL communities from 2013 2014, as well as expand DSL to even more rural communities.
- Increasing speeds to 5.0 Mbps in communities with 1.5 Mbps
- Adding a 10.0 Mbps service in communities with only 5.0 Mbps service
• Introduction of new LTE fixed-wireless products for rural broadband, pending the results of a LTE-TDD fixed wireless trial occurring in 2013.
• $10.7M to be spent on the rural 4G cellular network, including work on 31 new towers and 37 network capacity enhancements.
• Improving cellular locations and speeds with LTE
- SaskTel has deployed 4G LTE in Regina, Saskatoon, Balgonie, Clavet, Dundurn, Langham, Lumsden, Martensville, Osler, Pense, Vanscoy, Warman, and White City.
- Throughout 2013 the 4G LTE network will also be extended to Dalmeny, Estevan, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton.
- Future deployment in rural Saskatchewan of LTE will depend on SaskTel successfully purchasing spectrum in the upcoming 700 MHz Federal auction expected in 2013.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation (SaskTel) is the leading full service communications provider in Saskatchewan, with $1.1 billion in annual revenue and over 1.4 million customer connections including over 600,000 wireless accesses, 514,000 wireline network accesses, 234,000 internet accesses and 93,000 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. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have a workforce of approximately 4,000 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).