PEI broadband infrastructure build complete, new $1 million fund launched -
Bell Aliant, Government of PEI pleased with the completion of landmark
high-speed Internet infrastructure build and launch of the Rural Broadband
Fund

CHARLOTTETOWN, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - Bell Aliant and the Government of PEI confirmed the completion of the broadband infrastructure build to deliver high-speed Internet to virtually all areas of the Island by the end of the year. The $8.2 million project to extend broadband services across the Island has benefited thousands of individuals and businesses across the Island - from North Cape to East Point. Bell Aliant will work with customers in early 2010 to continue the installations of high-speed Internet.

In addition, Bell Aliant and the Government of PEI are pleased to announce the launch of the Rural Broadband Fund (RBF). The RBF is a five-year strategic partnership to support innovation in information technology across PEI.

"Today I'm proud to announce that we'll be able to offer high-speed Internet province-wide to our customers," says Bruce Howatt, Vice-President, PEI, Bell Aliant. "Our employees from across the Island have worked very hard to reach this important milestone. We are equally thrilled to help stimulate technological innovation in PEI through the Rural Broadband Fund."

More than 21,000 homes and businesses have been added to the broadband coverage area in 2009.

The project is part of the Government of PEI's ongoing commitment to rural development. Access to Bell Aliant's broadband service will help stimulate rural business activity and improve the quality of life for people living in rural communities.

"I am very proud that the provincial government has helped level the technological playing field across our Island," Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Neil LeClair said. "The provision of high-speed internet services across our province will greatly assist economic development in all parts of Prince Edward Island."

The RBF is a strategic partnership between Bell Aliant and the Government of PEI to support innovation in information technology, primarily focused on communications and communications technology. Funding for the RBF will be considered for one or two-year projects. Successful applicants are eligible for a one-year, up to $50,000 award or a two-year, up to $100,000 award. The call for applications will be publicized shortly in media outlets across the Island. For more information on the RBF please visit www.islandprosperity.com. The creation of the RBF was publicly announced in November 2008.

About Bell Aliant

Bell Aliant (TSX: BA.UN) is one of North America's largest regional communications providers and an Official Supporter of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Through its operating entities it serves customers in six Canadian provinces with innovative information, communication and technology services including voice, data, Internet, video and value-added business solutions. Through its xwave offices, Bell Aliant also provides IT professional services and advanced technology solutions. Bell Aliant's employees are committed to deliver the highest quality of customer service, choice and convenience.

SOURCE Bell Aliant Inc.

For further information: For further information: Peter Murchland, Communications and Public Affairs, Bell Aliant, 1-877-487-3165, peter.murchland@bellaliant.ca; Geoff Townsend, Premier's Office, Province of PEI, (902) 368-4400, gatownsend@gov.pe.ca

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Bell Aliant Inc.

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Government of Prince Edward Island

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