Rogers Might Adopt Consortium Model for TTC Network

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) documents have hinted Rogers would collaborate with other carriers under a consortium model to enhance the wireless network of Toronto’s subway. This expectation came up following Rogers’ acquisition of BAI Communications’ Canadian operations earlier in April.

While Bell and Telus have both pushed for a joint subway 5G network build using a consortium model, similar to the one used in Montreal’s Metro system, Rogers has not yet publicly committed to either model.

A TTC briefing note suggests that the agency anticipated Rogers to start on its build utilizing the consortium model. However, TTC later clarified that Rogers had not pledged to use a consortium model, attributing the confusion to a misunderstanding of the term “consortium,” reports The Globe and Mail.

One month prior to Rogers’ announcement, Bell urged the TTC to adopt a consortium approach. Bell’s executive vice-president and chief legal and regulatory officer, Robert Malcolmson, suggested that if BAI exited, Bell and other carriers could service the TTC subway under a consortium agreement, similar to the successful strategy adopted in Montreal.

Bell has since accused Rogers of misleading the City of Toronto. Jacqueline Michelis, Bell’s spokeswoman, claimed that Rogers has continuously declined discussions on a consortium approach and has yet to provide other carriers with the necessary engineering details of the subway’s wireless network.

In response, Rogers has proposed a framework assuring all carriers’ customers have access to wireless services on the TTC. If negotiations don’t succeed, Rogers proposes a binding arbitration process.

Telus has claimed that Rogers has not yet responded to negotiation requests, with Telus spokesman Richard Gilhooley noting, “Rogers has yet to agree to a meeting, which is a direct contradiction to their public statements.”

Prior to Rogers acquiring BAI Canada, public outcry called for wireless coverage in TTC subways (aside from Freedom Mobile), following a fatal stabbing. It just isn’t safe when there’s zero wireless coverage in these subways in 2023.

Under Rogers’ proposed framework, it would lead the network’s upgrade but maintain system accessibility for other mobile carriers. Rogers also stated that significant upgrades are needed to bring 5G cellular capacity to the TTC.

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