Investment driving innovation

Over the past few days, I noticed a common theme – investment driving innovation – in two press releases (Bell and Comcast) and two executive profiles in the Globe and Mail (on TELUS CEO Darren Entwistle and Bell CEO Mirko Bibic).

Let’s take a quick look at the connections.

Earlier today, Bell announced Gigabit 8.0 internet service, offering symmetrical download and upload speeds of 8 gigabits per second (8 Gbps) over its fibre network. That is a blistering high speed service, said to be the fastest residential internet speeds available in North America. At the same time, Comcast announced that it had successfully tested technologies that enable it to offer symmetric multi-gigabit per second services over its cable plant – technologies that can be expected in residential networks over the next year. We can expect these capabilities to be deployed in Canada as well.

In the profile on TELUS CEO Darren Entwistle we read:

When Telus first started planning its copper-to-fibre migration, its leadership wasn’t in agreement about how fast to move. “We were not a house united, we were a house divided,” Mr. Entwistle said. “There was a lot of back and forth – not so much on doing it, but what’s the right pace? Should we take an incrementalist approach versus going all in? Thankfully, we went all in.”

Similarly, the ROB Magazine profile on Bell CEO Mirko Bibic has:

Since I became CEO, and since the pandemic, we have invested more. Built more, better wireless networks, better fibre networks, to more communities—urban, suburban and rural. At the beginning of 2020, we had no 5G networks. Now we’re going to have 80% of the country covered with Bell 5G networks. By the end of this year, we will have made our fibre internet services available to two million additional locations. And we’ve invested in more resiliency and security.

I saw a common theme in facilities-based competition driving investment. Not just for the sake of investment, but because of the strategic value of networks as the platform upon which the overall economy can grow. As Mirko Bibic said when asked what the telecom landscape looks like in five years:

In terms of the connectedness of the country, what I really hope is, well before five years from now, we will have shifted the public policy focus from not only talking about price, quality and coverage, to serious discussions about how to use these networks. How do we encourage more investment in networks, more technology adoption by large and particularly by small businesses? More R&D investment by domestic and global players. Because if you want to invent something, in the metaverse or whatever it is, come here. Because we can give you the best network experience in order to make your inventions work. That’s what I hope we’ve accomplished, well before five years from now.

Investment drives innovation. Facilities-based competition drives investment.

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