published weekly by Angus TeleManagement Group
Number 559: December 15, 2006
Publication of Telecom Update is made possible by generous
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IN THIS ISSUE:
** Our Next Issue
** Ottawa to Overturn CRTC on Local Deregulation
** Cableos Split on Bernier Action
** BCE Drops Plan for Trust
** MTS Decides Against Shakeup
** CRTC Expands Ottawa Free-Calling Area
** Persona to Provide IP Telephony
** Primus Expands Wireless Coverage
** MTS Cellphones Offer Radio, TV
** Parkes to Head Selectcore Board
** Unlimited LD for $17.50 a Year
** Ottawa Offers Cellphone Buying Guide
** Wireless Innovation Contest Open Now
** ITU to Showcase 'Fully Networked Car'
** Com Dev Sales, Profits Rise
OUR NEXT ISSUE: For the convenience of readers leaving early for a
holiday break, next week's Telecom Update will be published on Thursday,
OTTAWA TO OVERTURN CRTC ON LOCAL DEREGULATION: In a sweeping rejection
of the CRTC's approach to deregulating local phone service, the federal
government plans to rewrite key sections of CRTC Telecom Decision
2006-15 (see Telecom Update #524). Changes proposed by Industry
Minister Maxime Bernier include:
** The geographic market for deregulation will be either a
local interconnection region (roughly, a local calling
area) or a local exchange -- not the larger Local
Forbearance Regions defined by the CRTC.
** Instead of requiring a 25% market share loss, business
service deregulation can take place if there are two
independent, facilities-based wireline providers.
Residential deregulation will require three providers, but
the additional one can be wireless.
** The telcos will still have to show that they are meeting
QoS standards on services they provide to competitors, but
on a smaller number of standards and showing only
"average" compliance, not a six-month consistent record.
** Restrictions on the telcos' local promotions and winbacks
will be removed as soon as the new rules take effect.
** Telcos will be invited to file forbearance applications
for Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton,
London, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Montreal, and Quebec
City. In each case the CRTC will have 120 days to
issue a decision.
The government's proposal will be published in the Canada Gazette on
December 16, with a 30-day public comment period.
CABLEOS SPLIT ON BERNIER ACTION: Not surprisingly, the incumbent
telcos were very pleased by the Industry Minister's announcement --
but the cable industry was divided.
** Shaw Communications said that it "supported the Minister's
decision" and urged the government to make similar changes
to cable and satellite regulation. Quebecor, owner of
Videotron, issued a similar statement.
** In contrast, Cogeco Cable said Bernier's announcement is
"contrary to sound public interest policy and practice for
deregulating the telecommunications sector, and it ignores
the relevant recommendations of the Telecommunications
Policy Review Panel issued earlier this year."
BCE DROPS PLAN FOR TRUST: At its December 12 business conference, BCE
confirmed that it will not become an income trust but will eliminate
its holding company structure. BCE, to be renamed Bell Canada, will have two
operating companies: Bell Inc. (the former Bell Canada) and Bell Aliant
Regional Communications. (See Telecom Update #550, 557)
** Bell Globemedia, now 15% owned by BCE, is changing its
name to CTVglobemedia, effective January 1.
MTS DECIDES AGAINST SHAKEUP: After an 11-month-long "comprehensive
review" of its business, MTS Allstream has decided against selling off
assets or other major changes. The telco plans to cut costs by another
$40 million to $50 million in 2007 while focusing on "growth services."
(See Telecom Update #515)
CRTC EXPANDS OTTAWA FREE-CALLING AREA: CRTC Telecom Order 2006-340 gives
interim approval to Bell Canada's application to eliminate long-distance
charges within the City of Ottawa, and between Ottawa and surrounding
communities including Arnprior, Kemptville, Merrickville, and Smiths
Falls. The change, to be effective June 18, will be financed by
three-year bill surcharges of 50 cents (residential lines) and 39 cents
** The City of Ottawa has been lobbying for this change for
more than five years. (see Telecom Update #287)
PERSONA TO PROVIDE IP TELEPHONY: Persona Communications, which has
about 200,000 cable subscribers, plans to offer Digital Phone service
in a number of Canadian cities in 2007. The underlying provider will
be MTS Allstream.
PRIMUS EXPANDS WIRELESS COVERAGE: Primus Canada now offers wireless
service using Rogers' GSM/GPRS network, which covers 93% of Canadian
residents. Until November 18, Primus cellphones used the more limited
MTS CELLPHONES OFFER RADIO, TV: MTS Mobility subscribers can now access
TV clips and 24-hour commercial-free radio. Streaming Radio and
Streaming TV cost $7/month each plus usage charges.
PARKES TO HEAD SELECTCORE BOARD: David Parkes, former President and CEO
of Sprint Canada, has been named Chairman of Selectcore, a Tecumseh,
Ontario-based company that offers prepaid telecom services to "the
ever-growing credit-challenged/sub-prime consumer market."
UNLIMITED LD FOR $17.50 A YEAR: Skype's Unlimited Calling Plan,
announced this week, offers unlimited VoIP-based long distance calls
to any phone within Canada and the U.S. for C$35/year. Customers who
sign up by January 31, 2007, will pay half-price ($17.50/year) and
receive 100 minutes of free worldwide calls.
OTTAWA OFFERS CELLPHONE BUYING GUIDE: "Get a Grip on Your Cellphone
Costs," a 28-page pamphlet published by Industry Canada's Office of
Consumer Affairs, is available online at http://xrl.us/CellGuide. It can
be downloaded in PDF format at http://xrl.us/Cellphone .
WIRELESS INNOVATION CONTEST OPEN NOW: The Wireless Innovation Network of
B.C. is now accepting entries for its fourth annual Wireless Innovation
Contest. The entry deadline is January 29; winners will be announced at
CTIA Wireless Orlando, March 27-29. See http://www.winbc.org/WIC/Overview.aspx
ITU TO SHOWCASE 'FULLY NETWORKED CAR': The International
Telecommunications Union will hold a workshop and showcase exhibit on
"The Fully Networked Car: Information and Communication Technologies in
Motor Vehicles," at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, March 2-12,
COM DEV SALES, PROFITS RISE: Com Dev International, which makes
satellite components, had revenue of $154 million for the year ended
October 31, 24% more than the previous year. Net income was $21.2
million, compared to $5.2 million the previous year.
CORRECTION: Contrary to Telecom Update #558, the founder and Chairman
Emeritus of Cogeco is Henri Audet, not Louis, his son and Cogeco's
CEO. We apologize for the error.
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