81% of Canadians surveyed by Nanos Research say Ottawa should not favour
any companies foreign or domestic in the upcoming wireless spectrum
Just 2% of Canadians think foreign companies like Verizon should be
given special advantages like the spectrum and other benefits enabled
by the wireless loopholes
Canadians of all kinds, pension groups, unions, academics, business and
technology associations are all concerned about the cost of the
Always ready to compete in a fair and open marketplace, Bell joins
Canadians in calling on Ottawa to ensure a level playing field in
MONTREAL, Aug. 21, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - A national survey released today
by Nanos Research found that Canadians overwhelmingly support a level
competitive playing field in the wireless industry. The survey results
are further evidence that the federal government must close the 3
loopholes in its wireless rules that give a range of spectrum and other
benefits originally intended for competitive startups in Canada to
giant US wireless corporations like Verizon.
"Canadians have an instinctive sense of fairness and they see that
giving such clear benefits to $120-billion US corporations to the
direct disadvantage of Canadian companies just isn't right," said
George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. "More than 80%
of Canadians see no need to give advantages to any company, foreign or
Canadian. We agree - Bell has always said we're ready and able to
compete on a level playing field. Like millions of Canadians and the
growing range of organizations that represent them, we call on the
federal government to close the wireless loopholes and support fair
competition in Canada."
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to Prime Minister Stephen
Harper warning of the costs of the wireless loopholes and asking for a
fair and open wireless marketplace, and the following organizations
representing millions have joined the chorus of concern: Canadian
Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Canadian
Federation of Pensioners, Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Taxpayers
Federation, Business Council of British Columbia, Conseil du Patronat
du Québec / Québec Employers Council, Information Technology
Association of Canada, Montréal Economic Institute, Ontario Chamber of
Commerce, TechnoMontréal, Telecommunications Workers Union, UNIFOR (CEP
/ CAW), and Union des municipalités du Québec.
The Nanos numbers
According to the national Nanos survey, 81% of Canadians believe
government policy for the upcoming auction of 700 MHz wireless spectrum
should show no favours to any competitor. Just 2% said foreign
companies like Verizon should be given special advantages to enter the
Canadian wireless marketplace.
The Nanos Research study of Canadians was commissioned by Bell Canada
and TELUS. For the full results including the statistics for all
questions, please visit www.nanosresearch.com.
The wireless loopholes
With the 3 loopholes in current federal wireless rules, US giants such
as Verizon could enter the Canadian market with 1) a 2:1 advantage over
Canadian companies in access to this country's 700 MHz wireless
spectrum; 2) the right to piggyback on Canadian networks where they
don't want to build their own; and 3) the ability to acquire wireless
startups in Canada while Canadian companies like Bell are forbidden
from bidding for them.
Despite offering these unprecedented advantages, the government offers
no assurances of any significant investment in Canadian jobs or
infrastructure by companies like Verizon, no assurances of lower prices
(Verizon's wireless customers actually pay more on average than Bell's
do), and has negotiated no reciprocal advantages for Canadian companies
wanting to enter the US market.
The 700 MHz airwaves being auctioned by Ottawa are a national public
resource. The ability of this spectrum to support rapid rollouts of new
mobile technology to rural and remote Canadian locations make it the
most important since the launch of wireless service in 1985.
A straightforward solution
Considering the importance of the issue and the clear desire of
Canadians for a fair approach to wireless, Bell urges the government to
close the loopholes by 1) permitting all carriers to bid on two blocks
of prime spectrum; 2) requiring US carriers that enter Canada to build
out networks to the entire country, as Canadian companies have; and 3)
allowing major Canadian carriers the opportunity to bid against the
major US companies to acquire wireless startups seeking buyers, with
full review by the Competition Bureau.
To learn more about the wireless loopholes, please visit FairForCanada.ca.
Headquartered in Montréal since its founding in 1880, Bell is Canada's
largest communications company, providing consumers, business and
government customers with leading TV, Internet, wireless, home phone
and business communications solutions. Bell Media is Canada's premier
multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital
media. Bell is wholly owned by Montréal's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE).
For more information, please visit Bell.ca.
The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is a national charitable
program that promotes Canadian mental health across Canada with the
Bell Let's Talk Day anti-stigma campaign and significant funding for
community care, research and workplace best practices. To learn more,
please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
SOURCE: Bell Canada
For further information:
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