Bell, Telus Ask Feds for Help to Access Rogers Subway Network: Report

Bell and Telus have appealed to the federal government, seeking its intervention to ensure equitable network access on Toronto’s subway system, reports The Globe and Mail. The telcos have asked Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne to facilitate their ability to gain a commitment from Rogers. This request is centred around the provision of equal access to Rogers’ expanded wireless network for their customers.

Rogers had earlier in April acquired BAI Canada, the sole company with rights to build wireless infrastructure inside Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) subway tunnels. Despite Rogers’ promise to integrate other carriers into the network, Bell and Telus have raised concerns over the slow pace of negotiations, say sources. The two companies worry that Rogers may exploit the situation to secure a commercial advantage by delaying network access for non-Rogers customers, say people familiar with the matter.

Consequently, Bell and Telus are asking Rogers to clarify the explicit terms of access, while also urging the government to ensure universal carrier access from the outset. Ellen Murphy, a spokesperson for Bell, emphasized that customers must not face delays while waiting for the deployment of 5G in the subway system, which she suggests could take several years.

The appeal to the federal government comes in the wake of a series of violent incidents in the subway system, which sparked calls from industry experts and politicians for improved cellphone service within the subway for safety reasons.

Bell and Telus’ advocacy for a model where all carriers jointly own a stake in the network has so far been rejected by the TTC. Instead, the TTC has decided to extend its existing contract with Rogers until at least 2042.