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Bell Aliant shows the new Facebook App on FibreOP TV

Regional telecom company Bell Aliant Inc. has reported a rise in profit to $87-million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, saying its digital TV and high-speed Internet services helped boost earnings.

The Halifax-based company's net earnings in the same quarter of 2011 were $84-million. Revenue was unchanged in the quarter at $682-million year-over-year.

Earnings per share were 38 cents compared to 37 cents in the same period last year. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 45 cents for the quarter, compared with 44 cents in the same quarter last year.

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"We expected the quarter to show improved financial trends and the business has delivered," chief executive officer Karen Sheriff said in a news release accompanying the financial results.

Ms. Sheriff heralded Bell Aliant's FibreOP services for high-speed Internet and digital TV services. The fibre-optic network allows faster downloads of data such as music or movies and the ability to share video and photos faster.

"Over 500,000 premises in Atlantic Canada now have access to FibreOP services," she said, adding that it will launch later this year in Sudbury, Ont.

"FibreOP is making the difference that we expected and I am confident that we have chosen the right strategy for the long-term profitability of our business."

Ms. Sheriff also said declines in the telecom company's traditional local and long distance revenues were offset by increases in every other major revenue category.

Internet revenue increased $9-million, or 7.5 per cent, in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

IPTV revenue reached $17-million in the first quarter of 2012 with total IPTV customers of 85,000 at the end of March 2012. Overall net IPTV customer additions were 8,000 in the first quarter of 2012, up from 4,000 in the same quarter of 2011.

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Other data revenue grew $2-million, or 2.1 per cent, in the first quarter of 2012 from the same quarter a year earlier.

Wireless revenues were up more than 13 per cent at $3-million, Bell Aliant said.

Bell Aliant provides telephone, Internet, television and other services to customers in Canada's six most eastern provinces and is partly owned by BCE Inc. of Montreal.

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