MTS Allstream Urges Government to Support Competition and Customer Choice for Broadband Internet Access



    
    Bell and Telus Petitions, if Allowed, Would Stifle Competition

    Stock Symbol: MBT
    

    OTTAWA, May 4 /CNW/ - MTS Allstream is urging the Federal Government to
set Canada on a course for competition and innovation in broadband Internet,
Ethernet and other next generation communications services. To do so, Cabinet
should reject proposals from Bell Canada and Telus that would stifle broadband
internet competition.
    MTS Allstream made its comments in response to recent petitions to the
Federal Cabinet by Bell Canada and Telus. In effect, the Bell and TELUS
proposals ask for latitude to raise prices, reduce competition, and control
the content that users are able to access.
    MTS Allstream takes the position that wholesale access to broadband
internet not only is an essential service, but that it fits the CRTC's own
definition of an essential service. The issue, in MTS Allstream's view, is the
CRTC's failure to properly apply its own definition of essential services to
this critical market.
    MTS Allstream said the position being advocated by Bell and Telus runs
counter to the Federal Government's policy direction in favour of competition
and innovation in Canada's telecom sector. Granting the Bell and Telus request
would also put Canada directly at odds with the emerging international
consensus that an open access model is the optimal means for broadening
competitive choice for broadband customers. That consensus is reflected in
recent decisions by the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the
European Union.
    "Compared to most of the industrialized world, Canadians already pay
higher prices for slower Internet speeds. Only Greece, Mexico and Turkey are
more expensive among OECD countries.
    Adopting the ideas tabled by Bell and Telus would entrench them as the
gatekeepers for customer choice in telecom services. Bringing choice and
competition to the market for wholesale broadband services is essential to
enrich the lives of Canadians and help drive improved productivity for small,
medium and large businesses across Canada. Government must stand up to this
pressure and defend the public interest," said Chris Peirce, Chief Corporate
Officer, MTS Allstream.
    "The Federal government has already been a catalyst for healthy
competition in the wireless market in the run up to last year's advanced
wireless spectrum auction. It is clear that Ministers need to again tell the
CRTC to focus not just on deregulation, but deregulation that ensures the
benefits of healthy competition," said Mr. Peirce.
    MTS Allstream has filed its own petition to the Federal Cabinet on a
related issue, and is asking the Federal Cabinet 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 in the 21st
century. To view MTS Allstream's own petition, and see the facts supporting
it, visit www.mtsallstream.com/cabinetpetition.

    About MTS Allstream

    MTS Allstream is a wholly owned subsidiary of Manitoba Telecom Services
Inc. and is one of Canada's leading national communication solutions
providers, delivering innovative products and services through the Enterprise
Solutions and Consumer Markets divisions. The Enterprise Solutions division,
which operates under the Allstream brand nationally and under the MTS
Allstream brand in Manitoba, is a leading competitor in the national business
and wholesale markets. This division offers customers a portfolio of solutions
tailored to the needs of medium and large businesses looking for success in a
world of rapidly evolving technology - IP connectivity, unified
communications, IT consulting and security services. The Consumer Markets
division leads every telecommunications market segment in Manitoba, delivering
a full suite of next generation wireless, high-speed Internet and data,
digital television and wireline voice services under the MTS brand, as well as
small business services in select markets across Canada under the Allstream
brand, and security and alarm monitoring services through AAA Alarm Systems
Ltd., an affiliate of MTS Allstream which also operates in other western
provinces. MTS Allstream's extensive national broadband fibre optic network
spans more than 27,900 kilometres, and provides international connections
through strategic alliances and interconnection agreements with other
international service providers. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.'s common
shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange (trading symbol: MBT). For
more information, please visit: www.mtsallstream.com.




For further information:

For further information: Media: Greg Burch, Manager, Corporate
Communications, (416) 345-3576, (204) 941-8576,
media.relations@mtsallstream.com; Investors: Ian Chadsey, Vice-President,
Investor Relations, (204) 941-8283, investor.relations@mtsallstream.com

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