TTC Rejects Bell’s Proposal, Stands by Rogers for TTC Subway Service
- TTC rejects Bell’s proposal for a joint-build wireless network model in Toronto’s subway system.
- The agency stands by the existing agreement with Rogers Communications, following an open tender process in 2009.
- TTC encourages all Canadian telcos to collaborate and provide wireless access for customers in transit systems and public facilities.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has dismissed Bell’s proposal to revamp the wireless cell service model in Toronto’s subway system, deeming it “a non-starter.”
Bell’s solution aimed to prevent Rogers from charging rivals a fee for network access, suggesting a joint-build model with Telus, in which all carriers would own a stake in the network infrastructure. Both Bell and Telus sweetened their deal by saying $10 million extra would be provided to the TTC.
However, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green confirmed the agency would not consider Bell’s request, reports The Canadian Press.
Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne previously urged major telecom companies to reach an agreement that would allow any company access to the TTC network after Rogers’s acquisition of BAI Canada which owned access to the system.
Bell’s CEO Mirko Bibic responded that his company would only participate in the network if it could help build it alongside other carriers.
Green defended the “neutral host model” as a common practice that works well in other jurisdictions.
“The ‘neutral host model,’ where one company builds the infrastructure and others join through an operating agreement, is common practice and works well in other jurisdictions,” said Green in an email to The Canadian Press.
With Bell not holding back in its scathing assessment of the TTC, Green shot right back at the telco. “To suggest, as this letter does, we tear up the contract reached after an open and public bidding process and instead award our wireless services to another consortium without a public tender is a non-starter for the TTC.”
He highlighted that the TTC “stands by the public and transparent” open tender process initiated in 2009, resulting in BAI Communications winning a $25-million contract to build and operate the TTC’s public Wi-Fi and cellular network.
He also noted that Bell participated in the open tender process but was outbid by $20 million in 2009. “Bell willingly participated in that open tender process, ultimately being outbid by $20 million,” said Green. Ouch.
The ongoing proposal involving BAI and Rogers represents a private business deal or acquisition that Bell, along with other companies, could have pursued at any point during the past 12 years, he added.
Green says the TTC looks forward to all telcos working together to bring wireless access to the TTC, “as is routinely done across the country on transit systems and in other public facilities.”