Bell Aliant reported a drop in operating income in its third quarter results Wednesday due to declines in local, long-distance, and data revenues. The company said operating revenues were 3.7 per cent ($27 million) less than the same period last year. “The decline was driven by declines in local and long distance revenues associated with lower network access services (NAS) and lower data revenues. These decreases were partially offset by increases in Internet revenues,” Bell Aliant reported. Bell said its cable telephony footprint increased during the quarter to 69 per cent of homes in the company’s territory. “This slowdown in competitive expansion and improved bundling and retention programs resulted in lower NAS declines in both the residential and business markets than occurred in the same quarter in 2009,” the company said. Bell Aliant continued to expand its fibre-to-the-home coverage during the third quarter, noting that it covers 106,000 homes and is on track to pass over 140,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2010. "Our rollout of this best-in-class technology as we face the challenges of an increasingly competitive marketplace, along with our cost management progress, improvements in NAS declines, and our continued focus on strong customer service, all give me confidence that we are pursuing the right strategy to ensure a solid, sustainable business for our customers, investors and employees," Karen Sheriff, president and CEO of Bell Aliant, said in a release.