Yesterday, Bell and Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. announced extensive plans for the expansion of mobile and wireline broadband communications networks in Northern Manitoba.

The move is part of the Bell MTS plan to invest $1 billion over 5 years, with the aim to accelerate broadband communications services across Manitoba. This latest update includes full LTE and HSPA+ wireless coverage for the Highway 6 corridor to Thompson, Manitoba's Hub of the North, new wireless and wireline broadband services for the indigenous communities of Easterville, Gods Lake Narrows, Gods River, Grand Rapids and Red Sucker Lake and enhanced broadband service for the mining centre of Flin Flon.

"The creation of Bell MTS will deliver the benefits of Bell's transformational broadband investment strategy to Manitobans throughout the province,” said Wade Oosterman, Bell Group President and Chief Brand Officer.

“That includes enabling small and remote communities to fully engage in the digital economy and the economic growth ahead for Manitoba.”

"The billion-dollar Bell MTS investment plan will place Manitoba at the forefront of Canadian broadband communications with innovative new services and enhanced coverage for small communities, key traffic corridors and big cities alike,” Oosterman added.

The service improvements unveiled represent the largest capital investment in wireless and wireline networks in Northern Manitoba in many years. They are seen by many as being extremely important for business, social services, recreation and safety in larger centres as well as in remote communities and isolated areas throughout the region.

The project is similar to the Bell and MTS plan announced May 20 to complete wireless coverage along busy Highway 75 in southern Manitoba between Winnipeg and the US border.

On May 2, Bell announced the acquisition of MTS in a transaction valued at approximately $3.9 billion. At the same time, it also announced a 5-year, $1 billion commitment to expand broadband wireless and fibre services in Manitoba following the closing of the MTS acquisition, expected in late 2016 or early 2017.

Following Bell's acquisition of MTS, the combined company's Manitoba operations will be known as Bell MTS.