Bell Canada will provide Telecommunication Technology for Convention Center

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Showcase plants firm’s flag in Telus territory

Jim Jamieson

Bell Canada planted its corporate flag deeper in Telus’s backyard yesterday. It announced it had won the contract to provide information technology and communications for Vancouver’s expanding Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The cash value of the deal wasn’t released, but the contract includes overseeing the infrastructure installation for the current major expansion and continues for 15 years after the project is completed in 2009.

The partnership for Toronto-based Bell with the Vancouver Convention Centre expansion project dovetails nicely with the $200-million deal it won two years ago to be the 2010 Olympics communications provider.

“This is massive, as far as the impact on our company,” said Charles Brown, president, Bell Western Region. “What the Olympics does, what this facility does, is show the whole marketplace that Bell is a significant player. This is going to be a technology showcase and it’s going to be very high profile.”

Brown said Bell plans to continue its expansion into Western Canada, which began about six years ago.

He said the telecommunications company currently has about 2,200 employee and receives more than $1 billion revenue in Western Canada, but expects to employ 4,000 people by 2010.

Russell Anthony, president of the Convention Centre expansion project, said Bell Canada’s Olympic partner status, including supplying services to the international media centre, which will accommodate 14,000 journalists — wasn’t a factor in its being selected.

“We had an independent process,” he said. “It was based on a long-term view.” Anthony said Bell was very aggressive in its bid.

“They were prepared to do a lot of research as to what it would take to make us best in class,” he said. “Also, their support is ongoing. In addition to the equipment they will put in now, they’ve got a refresher program so when new technology comes up, they will use it in the building.”

Bell Canada will supply the full range of its services, from high-speed Internet to wireless to broadcast video to satellite in the centre.

Paul Williams, director of Strategic Solutions for Western Canada, said the company will install 16 kilometres of fibre-optic cable in the building and is capable of installing new strands through conduits on an as-needed basis.

“We will have redundant fibre going into the building, one coming into the new facility and one into the existing,” said Williams. “The system is designed so one side can carry both if one goes down.”

Bell Canada will also offer such innovative services as radio frequency identification and a portable communications pod.


Call it a router on steroids.

That’s what Bell Canada plans to roll out for the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre when the current expansion is completed in two years.

Called a “communications pod,” the 22-kilogram device will take the 100-gigabit-per-second ethernet feed from Bell Canada and be able to split it 144 times.

Bell Canada currently has a prototype for the suitcase-sized device and expects to have it available to offer such applications as video conferencing and broadcasting.

© The Vancouver Province 2006


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