The Globe and Mail | Xplornet Communications to boost network spending, speeds

By Christine Dobby

Rural internet provider Xplornet Communications Inc. says recent network investments now make it possible to offer some of its customers broadband service only city dwellers used to be able to expect – faster speeds and unlimited data plans.

The New Brunswick-based company is Canada’s largest rural internet service provider (ISP) with more than 370,000 broadband customers. Yet, despite those numbers, subscribers have not always been happy with its service, often complaining about slow speeds and problems with intermittent connections during peak use times of the day, such as during the evening.

In an interview at the privately held company’s Markham, Ont., office, chief executive Allison Lenehan said he understands that “people can be skeptical until we do execute” but that Xplornet has invested more in its “fixed-wireless” network over the past year than in the previous five years combined.

Fixed-wireless service uses communications towers and radio waves known as spectrum to send broadband signals to customers’ homes. It’s often used in rural areas that can’t be easily connected by wires and where lower population density makes the fibre-to-the-home technology that major players such as BCE Inc. have been rolling out in cities prohibitively expensive.

“Rural Canadians don’t want the excuses, so we’re telling them we’re making the commitment,” Mr. Lenehan said. “Obviously they have every right to demand more of us until we deliver that, but we feel very bullish about what this is going to be in the near future.”

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