Rogers Communications Inc. in May sent federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne a framework for reaching a deal with other telecom providers over wireless service in Toronto’s subway system, the company said Monday.
In a post on its website Monday evening (June 5), the telecom company said it proposed a framework to reach agreements with all carriers to join the network under “commercially reasonable terms” in a timely manner.
The company said it’s confident it will be able to reach deals with the other carriers.
However, Rogers said it also proposed a dispute resolution process in case it’s unable to reach deals with the other carriers. It did not share details of the framework or of the dispute resolution process.
In April, Champagne asked the executives of Rogers, Bell Canada, Telus Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. to respond within 30 days detailing their status on the issue of wireless service on the Toronto subway.
Rogers is buying the Canadian operations of BAI Communications Inc., which previously won the contract to build and operate the TTC’s public Wi-Fi and cellular network in 2012, but only Freedom Mobile had signed on to provide coverage to its customers through BAI’s network. (Freedom Mobile is now owned by Quebecor’s Videotron Ltd.)
That means customers not with Freedom have been unable to use BAI’s network other than for 911. Calls to make the system work for all Torontonians have surfaced after a run of violent incidents on the TTC.
Champagne said in his April letter that he wants the telecom companies to reach agreements that would allow any company to access the TTC network.
Rogers has said it is committed to working with all carriers so they can provide service to their own customers through the network, which Rogers is upgrading.
The existing network covers around a quarter of the subway’s underground tunnels. Rogers will also build a 5G network for the entire system.
After Champagne’s letter posted to Twitter April 19, Bell president and CEO Mirko Bibic said his company would only take part in the network if it would have a chance to help build it with the other carriers. At the time, Telus said it agreed that “a consortium approach to building the TTC network” would be the best way forward.
The TTC rejected that proposal, calling it a “non-starter.”
Rogers president and CEO Tony Staffieri has said the company would not prevent any of the other telecom companies from offering service on Toronto’s subway system once Rogers has control of the infrastructure.
In the post Monday, Rogers said the current network can’t handle customer traffic from the three major carriers, but that it signed a deal to modernize and expand the network so that everyone, regardless of their carrier, will have full wireless coverage.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2023.
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