BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE) today reported results for the fourth quarter (Q4) and full-year 2020, provided financial guidance for 2021 and announced a 5.1%, or $0.17 per share, increase in the BCE annual common share dividend to $3.50. The company also unveiled an ambitious broadband network acceleration program enabled by an
additional $1 billion to $1.2 billion in capital investment over the next 2 years.
BCE announces 2021 financial targets, 5.1% dividend increase and capital investment acceleration of at least $1 billion to advance fibre and wireless network expansion over the next 2 years.
Bell continues to lead the way in connecting rural Canada with Wireless Home Internet, including launching an unlimited usage option for WHI customers this week. Bell significantly stepped up WHI expansion in 2020, including to rural Atlantic Canada and in response to COVID-19 demand, while also doubling Internet access speeds for most WHI customers. Bell’s 5G network was ranked Canada’s fastest in PCMag’s prestigious Fastest Mobile Networks Canada analysis, and now reaches more than 150 major urban areas and smaller communities across Canada with plans to double the footprint in 2021. Bell also helped accelerate broadband Internet rollouts throughout Québec with new measures simplifying access to support structures and a Centre of Excellence, and worked with Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) and industry partners to complete deployment of wireless service throughout Montréal’s metro transit system.
Total BCE capital expenditures in Q4 increased 29.9% to $1,494 million for a capital intensity ratio of 24.5%, compared to 18.3% in Q4 2019. This brought total 2020 capital expenditures to $4,202 million, up from $3,974 million the year before, representing a capital intensity ratio of 18.4% compared to 16.7% in 2019. Capital investment in 2020 focused on continued expansion of our broadband fibre network, the accelerated rollout of Wireless Home Internet to more rural locations, deployment of mobile 5G, the ongoing digital transformation of our operations – including online fulfillment, customer self-serve, automation tools and improved app functionality – and network capacity enhancements to manage unprecedented usage volumes during COVID-19.
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