Rollout of next-generation LTE network to rural and remote communities
depends on open and transparent 700 MHz spectrum auction
Key government decision sets the stage for our broadband mobile future -
global wireless leadership benefitting all regions of Canada, or a new
rural-urban digital divide
MONTREAL, Feb. 21, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell today urged the federal
government to ensure the forthcoming auction of 700 MHz spectrum is
open and transparent, with no special measures to favour some companies
over others. Any other approach risks leaving Canadians, especially in
rural and remote areas, out of the next generation of wireless
broadband innovation and the economic benefits it will bring.
"Bell has the scale, the commitment and the proven track record to keep
Canada at the forefront of global mobile wireless technology, fostering
ongoing productivity, investment and innovation here at home. But to
deliver leading-edge mobile services like LTE to Canadians across the
country, Bell needs a fair and equal opportunity to bid on the spectrum
required," said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility. "Bell now
offers next-generation LTE service in urban centres across Canada and
we're eager to extend this next generation mobile service to rural and
remote communities - just as we've consistently done with earlier
mobile network technologies such as HSPA+. But fair and equitable
access to spectrum is crucial."
Bell undertakes capital expenditures surpassing $3 billion a year to
develop Canada's digital communications infrastructure, spending more
on new next generation networks and investing more in Canadian R&D than
any other communications provider. LTE is the newest broadband
technology being deployed by Bell, which now serves 14 urban centres
across Canada, with plans to expand to more centres in 2012. Bell LTE
complements the company's broadband HSPA+ network introduced in
November 2009, which now serves more than 97% of the Canadian
population in rural, remote and urban locations from coast to coast.
To undertake a similarly extensive national network build with LTE, Bell
requires access to the 700 MHz spectrum that is ideal for carrying
wireless signals over long distances, increasing the speed and reducing
the cost of network deployment. An auction for this spectrum that isn't
open and transparent would limit the amount of spectrum available to
Bell, forcing a focus on more densely populated centres in order for
Bell to compete with new carriers already given special access to new
spectrum in 2008. In order to maximize their profits, new carriers have
since concentrated all their resources in major urban centres to the
detriment of rural Canada.
With only half as much spectrum available compared to the 2008 auction,
spectrum set asides or other extraordinary favours for certain
companies would permanently disadvantage a truly national wireless
operator like Bell.
"The economic reality in a country as geographically large and diverse
as Canada is that you need scale both to partner with global technology
leaders and to invest at the level required to ensure that all
Canadians are part of the mobile broadband revolution," said Mr.
Oosterman. "Without a fair and open spectrum auction, companies like
the new carriers that have chosen to operate only in the most
profitable urban areas would be the only ones to benefit. We risk a new
rural-urban digital divide in which Bell is forced to focus its
resources on urban centres in order to compete."
"Bell has the resources and a proven track record of bringing the best
of global wireless to every region of Canada. This spectrum auction is
a key decision point for our government, a moment that determines
whether our approach to technology leadership puts a superphone in the
hands of Canadians wherever they may live - or just those who happen to
live in the biggest cities," said Mr. Oosterman.
Bell offers Canada's most impressive portfolio of superphones and other
mobile devices including the LG Optimus 4G LTE, HTC Raider 4G LTE,
Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab LTE and the newly introduced Galaxy
Note. With Bell Mobile TV, customers have on-the-go access to Canada's
best content available directly on the industry's best superphones,
smartphones and tablets.
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and
business with solutions to all their communications needs: Bell
Mobility wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell Satellite TV and Bell
Fibe TV, Bell Home Phone local and long distance, and Bell Business
Markets IP-broadband and information and communications technology
(ICT) services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with
leading assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV,
Canada's #1 television network, and the country's most-watched
The Bell Mental Health Initiative is a multi-year charitable program
that promotes mental health across Canada via the Bell Let's Talk
anti-stigma campaign and support for community care, research and
workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For Bell product and
service information, please visit Bell.ca. For Bell Media, please visit BellMedia.ca. For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca.
SOURCE BELL CANADA
For further information:
Bell Media Relations