Developing Northern economy and creating new jobs in various sectors are
both linked to bridging the digital divide, Iristel and ICE Wireless
WHITEHORSE, YT, June 19, 2013 /CNW/ - For businesses in Canada's North
to create jobs for tomorrow's economy, the region's communications
infrastructure must be upgraded in a competitive, innovative
environment, not in the de facto monopoly atmosphere, the industry's
regulator has been told.
"We need jobs for today's economy and tomorrow's economy," said Samer
Bishay, President and CEO of both Iristel Inc. and ICE Wireless. "We
need to build advanced communications infrastructure that plugs all
Northerners into the rest of the world. And, as we've seen in the rest
of Canada and in other parts of the world, it is healthy competition
which delivers innovation and affordable prices."
The incumbent telephone company, BCE-owned NorthwesTel Inc., has
squandered millions of dollars of annual public subsidies with little
upgrades in service, Mr. Bishay added. Simple things like call display
are not available in most parts of the North and high-speed Internet,
where available, is expensive.
"Though this hearing is formally called a Review of NorthwesTel's
Regulatory Framework and Modernization Plan, we think it boils down to
two words: fairness and choice," Mr. Bishay told the panel of
commissioners from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
The hearing this week in Inuvik and Whitehorse comes two years after the
CRTC opened Canada's North to telecommunications competition, ending -
on paper, at least - NorthwesTel's regulated monopoly in Yukon,
Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
At the time, the CRTC criticized NorthwesTel for its aging
infrastructure and quality, reliability, and choice of services
available to customers. It ordered the company to come up with a
Modernization Plan that would lead to improved service and an
atmosphere where competitors could enter and remain in the market.
The commission sent NorthwesTel back to the drawing board after
submitting its first Modernization Plan. This hearing is scrutinizing
the company's second attempt and the high costs it charges competitors
to carry traffic to Canada's south.
Iristel is Canada's largest and fastest-growing carrier providing
innovative communication services that are changing how consumers and
businesses communicate. Iristel offers OTT, Voice Service Provider and
Carrier customers a full suite of domestic and international Local
Voice, Wholesale Voice, 911, SMS and Platform services that are
supported by Iristel's unified VoIP and GSM networks. Founded in 1999,
Toronto-based Iristel operates Canada's largest facilities-based local
voice network extending Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast. For more information, www.iristel.com
Established in 1999, Ice Wireless ("ICE") is a telephone and Internet
company that provides service to rural and remote communities in
northern Canada. ICE, majority owned by Iristel, provides cellular and
data service in six communities in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Our Nunavut service and 3G upgrades across our entire mobile network
will launch in third quarter of 2013. We will be in 10 communities this
year and 16 in 2014. For more information, www.icewireless.ca
SOURCE: Iristel Inc.
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