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Bits & Bytes



  • There were 4 pieces of media coverage featuring CNOC during the period of November 9 to November 16, 2020. CNOC was quoted in articles from about incumbents appealing the Federal Court of Appeal decision on CRTC wholesale rates to the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as the federal government adding an additional $750 million to the Universal Broadband Fund. Additionally, a CNOC member was mentioned in an article from IT World Canada. CNOC also wrote an op-ed in The Hill Times about the need for reform in Canada’s telecommunications industry.

  • Industry news included New Brunswick signing a deal with Xplornet to expand rural broadband, the federal government announcing that it will begin accepting applications for its Universal Broadband Fund, which will include an additional $750 million, and PCMag releasing its annual Fastest Mobile Networks Canada 2020 report.

  • Incumbent news included Telus asking the CRTC to review its finding of unjust discrimination against Iristel in relation to the dispute over traffic stimulation to the 867 area code, incumbents appealing CRTC wholesale rates at the Supreme Court of Canada, Telus launching an agricultural technology division, and the CRTC granting final approval for Northwestel (a Bell subsidiary) to increase data caps on several of its terrestrial Internet service packages.




OP-ED: Reform necessary to rein in incumbent telecom companies’ foot-dragging

November 12, 2020

The Hill Times


There’s little doubt that telecommunications is an essential service. The pandemic has really underscored just how vital affordable, high-quality connectivity is.


Is the Canadian communications sector delivering on that? Are Canadians getting the services, speeds, packages, and pricing they want and need? Are they being treated fairly?



CIK Telecom now offers mobile service in Canada

IT World Canada

November 12, 2020


Toronto-based CIK Telecom launched a new mobile service that offers unlimited country-wide calling and data.


Customers can purchase the base plan with 1GB of LTE data at $40 per month. The highest plan includes 12 GB of LTE data for $70 per month.



TPIA: Bell and the large cablecos want Supreme Court to rule on wholesale fees decision

November 12, 2020


OTTAWA – To no one’s surprise, Bell Canada and the large cable companies have sought leave to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal decision of September 10, 2020, over CRTC Decision 2019-288 (about the fees third party internet access ISPs pay to the incumbents) to the Supreme Court of Canada.


Bell adopted the reasoning put forward by the large cable carriers (Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco, and Eastlink) and let them argue more at depth the issues at hand.



Carriers welcome UBF; concerns remain over speed limits

November 11, 2020


CANADA’S LARGEST INTERNET service providers say they are pleased with the federal government’s infusion of cash with the $1.75 billion Universal Broadband Fund, but some are concerned about the speed objectives.


On Monday, the federal government announced the program was open for applications with an additional $750 million in new money and $150 million of it dedicated to a faster stream for projects that can deploy by November 2021. All projects must meet the speed threshold of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.

A number of Canadian wireless providers have objected to a proposal that could allow satellite operator Telesat Holdings Inc. to sell off part of the 3800 MHz spectrum, instead of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada, which typically conducts auctions for spectrum allocation. 


The objections came in response to ISED’s two-month consultation period on the future of the 3800 MHz band, which ranges from 3650 to 4200 MHz, and is crucial for the deployment of 5G wireless networks. (A 30-day follow-up reply period is ongoing, and will conclude in late November.) 



Ready for applicants, $1.75B broadband fund to favour low cost, open access projects

November 9, 2020


OTTAWA – The federal government announced Monday that it will begin accepting applications for its Universal Broadband Fund, which will now include an additional $750 million of new money and a fast-track application stream.


The $1.75-billion program, announced in the federal budget back in March 2019, will carve out $150 million to provide rapid project completion by November 15, 2021 for “shovel-ready” projects. The government anticipates spending up to $5 million on the speedier projects – applications of which are due by January 2021 – which are all expected to deliver access to 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload to unserved or underserved Canadians.



ISED approves Starlink’s spectrum request

November 9, 2020


OTTAWA — Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has added SpaceX’s Starlink low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to its list of foreign satellites approved to provide fixed-satellite services (FSS) in Canada.


The list was updated November 6, the same day this tweet announced ISED had granted regulatory approval for Starlink’s LEO satellite constellation.




Telesat finalizes $600-million agreement with federal government to provide LEO capacity pool

November 9, 2020


OTTAWA — Telesat and the government of Canada today announced they have completed their $600-million agreement signed in July 2019 that will see the federal government buy broadband capacity on Telesat’s low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, once it enters service, over a 10-year period.


The agreement will enable Internet and mobile service providers to acquire Telesat LEO capacity at “substantially reduced rates” to bring broadband connectivity to rural, northern and Indigenous communities across Canada, says Telesat’s press release.




Tech publication 'surprised' by 'screaming' fast internet speeds in North Bay

November 9, 2020


On a day when the federal government promised to increase its efforts to spread high-speed internet access to rural areas, a series of smartphone network tests by online tech publication is reporting

North Bay proper benefits from some of the fastest speeds registered across the country.



“Canadian networks are offering a lot more for subscribers’ money,” says PCMag

November 9, 2020


NEW YORK — Bell is the fastest wireless carrier in Canada, according to PCMag’s annual Fastest Mobile Networks Canada 2020 report, released today.


Bell is regaining the fastest mobile network title this year, after Telus topped the list for the last three years.


Similar articles were published by iPhone in Canada on November 14 and Mobile Syrup on November 9.



5G monetization depends on use cases, Quebecor says

November 9, 2020


MONTREAL – The monetization of next-generation mobile wireless technology will depend on what it’s used for and, currently, it’s about bringing customer defections under control, Quebecor executives said Thursday.


“I think because it’s just marketing for now, it’s just a question of reducing or stabilizing churn,” Jean François Pruneau, president of Videotron, said on the company’s third-quarter conference call last week. “But we’re going to have to see more user cases on the residential front or on the business front to be able to see real, true monetization plans from us and from all players around the planet… because essentially today, it seems very hard to monetize the 5G investment.”



Ottawa boosts funding for rural broadband, high-speed internet by $750-million

The Globe and Mail

November 9, 2020


Ottawa is boosting its funding for rural broadband projects by $750-million and looking to speed up the deployment of high-speed internet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


The federal government says its Universal Broadband Fund, which was first announced in the 2019 budget, will now dole out up to $1.75-billion to projects aimed at bringing high-speed broadband to rural and remote areas, up from $1-billion previously. The funding is meant to subsidize the cost of building networks in sparsely populated parts of the country, where it is tougher for telecom companies to recoup their investments.


A similar article was published by Yahoo Finance Canada on November 9.


Press releases reacting to the news were published by Cabinet du ministre de l'Économie et de l'Innovation (French) and Cogeco Communications Inc. (English and French) on November 9.



UBF open for applications, gets additional $750M plus a promise to speed up

November 9, 2020


OTTAWA – The federal government on Monday announced it will be accepting applications for its Universal Broadband Fund and will add an additional $750 million to the program and include a fast-track application stream.


The government updated its website to include the new information, ahead of a briefing this afternoon. It’s unclear whether the additional $750 million is coming from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which will be a partner in delivering the projects and was infused with $2 billion for broadband last month — or if it is entirely new money.



Feds boost Universal Broadband Fund by $750M

The Wire Report

November 9, 2020


The federal government announced the launch of its long-awaited Universal Broadband Fund Monday morning, increasing the funding by $750 million and the number of Canadians it aims to have connected by 2026 from 95 per cent to 98 per cent. 


The fund also includes $150 million dedicated toward a “Rapid Response Stream” which is open immediately and will seek to fund “shovel-ready projects” that can be completed by November 2021. The announcement didn’t specify a deadline for the rest of the projects to be completed.


Similar articles were published by CBC News, Mobile Syrup and Estevan Mercury on November 9.



Without immediate help, Nunavut Internet is at “serious risk,” says SSi

November 8, 2020


YELLOWKNIFE – Saying the federal broadband subsidy which has allowed it to offer broadband and wireless in Nunavut has run out, and the federal government has been silent on its replacement, SSi Canada says it can no longer support the business on its own and will have to increase prices soon, without help.




Telus Smart Hubs available in Clinton customers

BC Local News

November 16, 2020


Thanks to a new tower, high-speed internet is now available to Clinton’s Telus customers via Telus Smart Hubs.


Amanda Usher, Andre’s Electronic Expert’s manager and local Telus representative, said this latest tower is part of Telus’s ongoing effort to bring better internet services to Cariboo Chilcotin communities. She said there are up to 400 addresses that qualify for it and will allow people to get plans ranging from 100 gigabytes for $65 a month, 500 gigabytes for $80 a month to a full terabyte for $115 a month.



CRTC wants to hear from northerners about Northwestel

Nunatsiaq News

November 13, 2020


Canada’s telecommunications watchdog wants to know what northerners think about their internet, wireless and phone services, especially those services offered by Northwestel.


It’s part of a big review of Northwestel and the state of telecommunications in Canada’s North that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission launched on Nov. 2.



A ‘pedestal box’ is essential for internet, TV and phone. So why did Rogers wait more than a year to fix this one?

Toronto Star

November 13, 2020


There’s never enough time to do what needs to be done, except when it comes to fixing telecommunications equipment boxes.


And then the timeline is endless, when it appears that it doesn’t matter if a damaged box ever gets fixed. At least that’s the impression left by utilities that seem to try their best not to notice them.



CRTC erred in finding of unjust discrimination against Iristel in 867 fight: Telus

The Wire Report

November 13, 2020


In a years-long dispute over traffic stimulation to the 867 area code, Telus Corp. is asking the CRTC to review its assessment that measures taken by the company to “protect itself” against an “unlawful arbitrage scheme” by Iristel Inc. amounted to “unjust discrimination” against Iristel, and the customers of both companies. 



VIDEO: Telus' move into agriculture connects supply chain from farm to fork: Telus Agriculture chair BNN Bloomberg

November 13, 2020


Francois Gratton, chair of TELUS Agriculture joins BNN Bloomberg to discuss the company's move into agriculture through their AI technology to help curb waste and make the supply chain more efficient.



Incumbents appeal CRTC wholesale rates at Supreme Court

The Wire Report

November 12, 2020


Both BCE Inc. and large cable companies have turned to the Supreme Court of Canada to fight the lower internet wholesale rates the CRTC established in 2019, The Wire Report has learned.


Both Bell and the cablecos — Rogers Communications Inc., Quebecor Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and Bragg Communications Inc. and Cogeco Inc.—  filed separate appeals with the Supreme Court on Thursday. The CRTC rates set out how much the large telecoms can charge competitors for wholesale service, which companies like TekSavvy Solutions Inc. and Distributel Communications Ltd. then sell to retail customers. 



Telus launches new business focused on digitizing the agricultural sector

The Globe and Mail

November 12, 2020


Telus Corp. is launching a new business focused on digitizing the world’s food-supply system, bringing together several companies it’s acquired in the burgeoning agricultural-technology industry.


The Vancouver-based telecom has bought seven companies in the sector over the past two years to create its Telus Agriculture division. which aims to help feed a growing global population by using technology to reduce food waste, increase crop yields and improve quality and safety.


Similar articles were published by Food in Canada on November 16, Le Nouvelliste (French) on November 15, Canadian Grocer, The Western Producer and Farmtario on November 13, and The Canadian Press, Financial Post, Bloomberg News, iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup, The Logic, La Presse (French),, RealAgriculture and Le Bulletin des Agriculteurs (French) on November 12.



Telus expands further beyond telecom with launch of globally-focused Ag-tech division (updated)

November 12, 2020


VANCOUVER – Telus announced the launch of Telus Agriculture today, a new business unit with which the company hopes to “digitally transform the global food system.”


The company has purchased a number of companies whose assets will give Telus a full suite of technology solutions which can “increase efficiency, production, and yields, delivering better food outcomes for businesses and the end consumer,” reads its press release.



Telus jumps into the agricultural tech sector

The Wire Report

November 12, 2020


Telus Corp. announced Thursday the launch of a new business focused on agricultural tech, after the company’s acquisition of eight companies in that sector.


Telus Agriculture will bring together those companies’ various operations, with the aim of creating a cohesive set of technological tools that could help businesses from agricultural producers through to retailers to produce and supply food more efficiently.



InDro Robotics working with Rogers, UBC to find 5G applications for drone technology


November 11, 2020


InDro Robotics, a drone startup based in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, has partnered with telecommunications giant Rogers and the University of British Columbia (UBC) to research future 5G use cases for drone technology.


Through this new partnership, InDro Robotics will help research novel applications for drones that can drive positive societal impact, including agriculture sensors to limit pesticide use, wildfire prevention sensors, and large-scale multi-drone deliveries.



Northwestel gets final approval for data cap increases

November 9, 2020


GATINEAU — The CRTC today granted final approval for Northwestel to increase the data usage allowances for several of its terrestrial Internet service packages, which had been approved on an interim basis in June.


In an application at the beginning of June, Northwestel had proposed increasing the data caps on certain residential and business cable, DSL and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) Internet packages by 7% to 100%, without any increases in the retail rates. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, Northwestel said it had seen a substantial increase in DSL and residential cable usage in particular.



Commission wants more info from Iristel and Rogers

November 9, 2020


GATINEAU — As the CRTC continues to assess an accusation by Iristel that Rogers has been manipulating caller ID information for some of its mobile customers in order to give itself an undue advantage, the Commission has asked both companies to provide more information for the file.


In July, Iristel alleged Rogers has manipulated caller ID info to make it appear as though mobile calls are originating from the U.S., in order to circumvent routing restrictions and benefit from “more advantageous” termination rates. Most of the phone calls in question appeared to come from a single 212-475-#### phone number (the area code and exchange is registered to Verizon in New York).



Bell to begin isolating smartphone subs in financial reporting

November 7, 2020


MONTREAL – Bell Canada may begin formally separating its mobile phones from tablets and other connected devices in future financial reporting, which will better isolate subscriber figures for 5G-connected peripherals and enhance transparency and comparability with competitors in the industry.

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