Federal Government misses opportunity to lead digital economy

CRTC must quickly adopt new competitive framework

Stock Symbol: MBT

OTTAWA, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - By refusing to vary the "essential facilities" decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ("CRTC"), as it relates to local broadband network inputs, the Federal Cabinet has missed an important opportunity to promote competition and innovation in Canada. As is evident from the Globalive decision also released today, the Government recognizes the need for more competition in broadband and advanced telecommunications services. Instead of acting immediately, the Government is giving the CRTC another opportunity to establish a regulatory framework to ensure the right incentives for investment, innovation and competition are in place.

"This decision is a setback for Canadian consumers and businesses. By refusing to act immediately to provide reasonable access to essential broadband network components, the Federal Government has further delayed vigorous competition in broadband and has stepped back from its promise to promote Canadian leadership in the digital economy," said Chris Peirce, Chief Corporate Officer, MTS Allstream. "The CRTC has the opportunity to rectify this situation through a new competitive framework. We look forward to participating in the CRTC proceeding where the market realities and demands of Canadians and Canadian businesses should result in a regulatory framework that promotes competition and innovation."

In their decision, the Federal Government has ignored the clear concerns of tens of thousands of Canadian consumers and businesses. Through the "Campaign for Competitive Broadband", individual Canadians and businesses from across the country sent over 100,000 messages of concern to the Federal cabinet, warning the Government against the negative impact on their business and their customers. The campaign, spearheaded by MTS Allstream and 50 other Internet service providers and organizations like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, argued that network facilities built over decades by regulated monopolies operating under guaranteed rates of return must be more accessible to a wide range of competitors who want to offer choice in services to businesses and consumers.

"As we have done since competition was introduced into the Canadian telecommunications marketplace, MTS Allstream will continue to be a leader in providing competition and choice to business customers while continuing to advocate for a pro-competitive regulatory and policy framework," added Peirce. "We will continue with our current strategy of making prudent investments in competitive infrastructure, and developing innovative enterprise solutions as the premier business competitor in Canadian telecommunications."

About MTS Allstream

MTS Allstream is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. 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 learn more about MTS Allstream services, markets, community commitments and record of creating shareholder value are encouraged to visit: www.mtsallstream.com.

SOURCE MTS Allstream

For further information: For further information: Media: Greg Burch, MTS Allstream Corporate Communications, (416) 345-3576, (204) 941-8576, media.relations@mtsallstream.com; Investors: Paul Peters, MTS Allstream Investor Relations, (204) 941-6178, investor.relations@mtsallstream.com

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