Re: "Verizon decides against entering Canadian market," the Now, Sept. 5.
I am writing in response to the column written by Christopher Poon. (Read column here).
As the director of Telus's team serving Surrey, I couldn't help but be compelled to ensure our neighbours have the facts about the wireless issue at hand so they can make their own conclusions.
Verizon did indeed recently announce it is not interested in Canada right now, but we have consistently stressed that our concern was never about Verizon. We welcome competition, from Verizon or any other front.
What we still need to address in this matter is our federal government keeping loopholes open in the upcoming auction of 700 MHz wireless spectrum, the roadway over which we run wireless services, which would give exclusive two-for-one advantages to foreign entrants over Canadian companies with no requirement they use that advantage to serve rural Canadians.
Let's look specifically at B.C. According to Statistics Canada and the 2011 census information, the Vancouver metropolitan area covers 53 per cent of the total population of B.C. Under the current regulations as they are written, a foreign entrant into the Canadian wireless market is only required to provide service to 50 per cent of B.C.'s population, within a decade.
That means it can comply with the deployment requirements in B.C. by simply servicing Metro Vancouver. So, maybe the good folks in Surrey won't mind if we actually get service from any new foreign company, but what happens to our friends in the Interior? What about Hope, or Kamloops, Prince George, Kelowna?
Telus, on the other hand, would have to deploy its 700 MHz spectrum to basically cover the entire population in any service area it gets spectrum in the upcoming auction. We're OK with that, because we are committed to serving rural Canada.
However, we are not OK with different rules applying to different companies - we are calling on the government to close the loopholes, let us all get the right to bid on the same amount of spectrum, and require any company that gets spectrum to fully use it to serve both urban and rural Canadians.
Telus is headquartered in B.C. and we employ thousands here in the province and across the country. We spend billions to serve areas like Surrey. And we invest millions more back into the community with our support for local charities.
We make no complaint about competing against foreign companies - bring it on. But we think it should be at least on the same terms.
Scott Bremner, Director, Customer Solutions, Surrey, Telus
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