Canada is the second largest country in the world by land size, but with a population of 36 million, Canada’s population density ranks among the lowest in the world. This creates significant challenges for delivering broadband service.
Although 90% of Canadians live within 200Km of the US border, many areas throughout this region, and across Canada’s vast land mass, are under served by high-speed broadband. For a wide number of applications, from enabling education and health services in indigenous communities, to supporting economic development and technology deployment for agriculture and resource-based rural towns, broadband service is a priority for customers, enterprise and Government.
Bell is Canada's largest telecommunications service provider, providing a full range of services to residential, mobile and enterprise customers, including nearly 3.5 million residential high speed internet subscribers. Building on a large installed base of FTTC, Bell has targeted to expand their FTTH program with premium services over fiber connectivity to win market share. Under the current build program, Bell estimates 32% of its customers will be covered by FTTH services by end of 2017.
WTTx is the complementary solution to provide fibre-like wireless connectivity to un-served and under-served areas where FTTH cannot or will not reach in the near future. It allows Bell to explore wireless broadband opportunities and offer competitive speeds, with a more attractive ROI and deployment time.
Likewise, WTTx can provide Bell with a much shorter TTM for deployment into areas beyond Bell’s current footprint as an incumbent Telco provider, providing subscribers with a competitive option for high speed connectivity.
Considerable progress has been made in LTE TDD technologies in recent years, in terms of speeds and spectral efficiency. Terminals, in this case CPEs, have also come a long way – with advances in chipsets and the addition of more antennas. As a result, Bell can be in a competitive position to not only offer high-speed broadband experience to customers, but also high-demand services such as Pay TV and OTT to under-served areas and homes.
In current market trial clusters, Bell has deployed Huawei’s 3.5GHz solutions, with carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO, to enable WTTx services. Using Huawei’s smart 8T8R antenna, Bell can vary their coverage footprint by adjusting the antenna’s beam-width remotely, based on the overall subscriber location profiles and performance. Next steps for Bell involve trials with the Huawei 64T64R Massive-MIMO TDD solution, also at 3.5GHz TDD, to better understand and quantify the capabilities and applicable scenarios of this new innovative technology. Bell’s goal is to expand WTTx services to suburban and urban areas by deploying a combination of 8T8R and 64T64R massive-MIMO solutions to meet diverse service requirements.
“Having been involved in the evolution of fixed wireless from wireless local loop, early WiMAX and LTE, I believe the technology is now ready to offer competitive broadband speeds to the many rural communities in Canada where there is tremendous demand. Additionally, with a robust evolution path from 4G to 5G, we plan to continuously increase speeds and deliver new services to keep lifelong customers. Huawei is a vital partner to support Bell in this goal by providing leading-edge end-to-end solutions. ”