Regulator's decision risks price spikes and less choice for broadband
Stock Symbol: MBT
OTTAWA, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - MTS Allstream, the Canadian Association of
Internet Service Providers, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses
and nearly two dozen individual companies (from across Canada) today launched
an internet based campaign to convince the federal government to correct a
CRTC decision that is harmful to competition in broadband Internet, Ethernet
and other next generation communications services.
It is expected that more companies will decide to align behind this
campaign in the weeks and months ahead.
Called the "Campaign for Competitive Broadband", the goal is to ensure
that network facilities built with the benefit of a historic monopoly and
guaranteed rate of return, are accessible to a wide range of competitors who
want to offer choice in services to businesses and consumers. Bell and Telus,
which control these networks in most parts of the country, would have the
ability to shut out competitors if the CRTC decision is allowed to stand.
"Canadian small and medium size businesses pay the most expensive prices
for high-speed broadband among all OECD countries, except for the Slovak
Republic, and this CRTC decision would only make things worse," said Chris
Peirce, Chief Corporate Officer, MTS Allstream. "It would open the door to a
re-monopolization of the kind of telecom services that are critical to the
success and competitiveness of businesses across Canada. Bell and Telus would
be better off, everyone else will be a loser."
MTS Allstream, which is spearheading the effort, and the other
participants in this campaign urge Canadians to learn about the risks to them
if this decision is not reversed, by visiting www.competitivebroadband.com,
and using the capabilities of the website to make their concerns known to
Industry Minister Tony Clement and others in Ottawa.
Through www.competitivebroadband.com, MTS Allstream is providing
Canadians with an opportunity to learn about the issue, join a growing online
petition, e-mail the federal government, the CRTC and their local MP, as well
as encourage others to join the campaign.
"The idea for this campaign immediately garnered the support of
businesses, organizations and associations across the country," said Corinne
Pohlmann, Vice-President of National Affairs for the Canadian Federation of
Independent Business. "We're calling on everyone who cares about access to
competitively priced internet services, to join with us in reversing this
decision. This is a serious threat to thousands and thousands of businesses
across Canada and especially those in more rural areas. They know what happens
when monopolies rule, and cannot afford to stand by a decision which virtually
guarantees higher prices, and weaker service."
"Over decades, companies like Bell and Telus built networks supported by
federal rules which created telephone service monopolies," said Tom Copeland
of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP). "This was
effectively a subsidy by taxpayers so that all Canadians could have an
interconnected telecommunications network. Once built, the federal government
enacted a number of rules, one of which required Bell and Telus to allow
competitors to use these networks at prices regulated by the CRTC. This
ensured competitive pricing, and spurred innovation - all of which is now
threatened by the CRTC decision to lift these rules."
MTS Allstream has filed its own petition to the federal cabinet asking it
to take the necessary steps to have the CRTC recognize that competitive access
to broadband and the Internet is essential for Canadians and Canadian
businesses. MTS Allstream's Campaign for Competitive Broadband encourages all
Canadians to support this notion by visiting www.competitivebroadband.com.
About the Coalition for Competitive Broadband
The Coalition for Competitive Broadband represents consumers and
businesses that believe in healthy competition for high speed Internet and
other next generation telecommunication services. The coalition came together
in response to a recent CRTC decision which, if not reversed, would result in
less competition, higher prices, weaker service and declining innovation. The
coalition is open to all those who share these concerns and want Ottawa to set
a course that will ensure healthy competition. The Campaign is supported by
organizations which collectively serve or represent over 250,000 businesses
with 1,200,000 employees and 900,000 consumer Internet customers in Canada. To
learn more, and find out how you can help, please visit
About MTS Allstream
As one of Canada's leading national communication solutions companies,
MTS Allstream provides innovative communications for the way Canadians want to
live and work today. The Company has more than 100 years of experience, with
6,000 employees across Canada dedicated to a mission of delivering true value
as seen through the eyes of our customers. In 2008, MTS Allstream had nearly
two million total customer connections spanning business customers across
Canada and residential consumers throughout the province of Manitoba. The
Company's extensive national broadband and fibre optic network spans almost
30,000 kilometres. MTS Allstream is a proud sponsor of Cindy Klassen, 2006
World Champion and Canada's greatest Olympian, and a proud contributor to the
Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.'s common
shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange (trading symbol: MBT).
Customers, stakeholders and investors who want to learn more about MTS
Allstream services, markets, community commitments and record of creating
shareholder value are encouraged to visit: www.mtsallstream.com.
Formed in 1996, CAIP's Mission is to foster the growth of a healthy and
competitive Internet service industry in Canada through collective and
cooperative action on Canadian and international issues of mutual interest.
CAIP membership comprises commercial telecommunication service providers,
Internet providers, independent cable companies and enterprises interested or
involved, directly or indirectly, in the industry of Internet service
provisioning. CAIP provides effective industry advocacy respecting public
policy and regulatory matters (e.g., access, copyright, privacy and security
issues, e-commerce guidelines) affecting Canada's ISP industry. Find out more
about CAIP at www.caip.ca.
CFIB is Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized
businesses. Encouraging the development of good public policy at the federal,
provincial and municipal levels, CFIB represents more than 105,000 business
owners, who collectively employ 1.25 million Canadians and account for $75
billion in GDP. Find out more about CFIB at www.cfib.ca.
For further information:
For further information: Greg Burch, MTS Allstream Corporate
Communications, (416) 345-3576, (204) 941-8576,
email@example.com; Megan Hooper, Coalition for Competitive
Broadband, (416) 979-1120 ext. 297, firstname.lastname@example.org; Marie-danielle
Davis, CFIB, (613) 235-2373, email@example.com; Tom Copeland, CAIP, (905)