BCE Inc. will be delivering its fixed wireless internet to some 137,000 more homes than it had planned to by this point in its 2020 rollout, according to a Thursday release. The company said it was increasing the speed of the rollout because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that among its fixed wireless customers usage was up 40 per cent last month. The rollout is part of Bell's stated goal to hit a million homes by the end of 2020, and is taking place across 180 communities in rural Canada. In 2018, Bell had initially announced a goal of connecting 1.25 million homes, a target the company cut down to a million in reaction to the CRTC's wholesale rate decision in August 2019. That goal hasn’t increased with today's announcement, and remains at 1 million connected homes. "With the scale of our operations and the depth of our team, Bell is a company uniquely positioned to lead the way in delivering high-speed Internet access to rural Canada," Bell CEO Mirko Bibic said in the release. "Our accelerated rollout to 137,000 additional rural households in 180 individual communities this month is both an immediate response to COVID-19 and part of our work to connect even more rural Canadians for generations to come." "We know that high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity for all Canadians. Our government is working hard, with the private sector, provinces, communities and Indigenous organizations, to make sure that rural Canadians have access to high speed Internet, no matter where they live," Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said in the release.