‘Put TTC riders first,’ Bell’s chief legal officer tells federal government

Bell wants the government to ensure its customers will have wireless access on the TTC following Rogers' buying exclusive rights to the network

Bell’s legal officer is asking Canadas’s Innovation Minister to do more to ensure all Canadians have wireless access on the TTC.

The message, shared on LinkedIn, is Bell’s latest public appeal to ensure their customers have wireless access on Toronto’s transit network following Rogers’ exclusively buying the rights in April.

While Rogers has previously stated it’s committed to working with other providers to ensure access, Robert Malcolmson, BCE’s Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, says that hasn’t been the case.

“Despite our many attempts to discuss the issue, Rogers continues to stonewall and is refusing to negotiate, provide any technical information, or begin the collaboration that would help all of us prepare to connect everyone to the network.”

Malcolmson called on Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne to “put TTC riders first” by asking Rogers to take part in a joint network build model. If not that, “he must at least take action to ensure all Canadians are connected as soon as possible.”

“The federal government cannot endorse one carrier as the gatekeeper of TTC customer access to wireless service on the subway,” Malcolmson wrote.

The TTC previously stated the “neutral host model,” which Bell is arguing against, “is common practice and works well in other jurisdictions.”

In a recent response to Malcolmson’s post, a TTC spokesperson said, “to suggest, as Bell has previously done, 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.”

The public appeal follows an earlier report from The Globe and Mail citing Bell and Telus’ work behind closed doors to get the government involved in the situation.

Minister Champagne has made two announcements in the past weeks asking providers to work together to reach an agreement.

“Bell continues to make inaccurate statements about our partnership with the TTC and our efforts to make wireless connectivity accessible for all TTC subway riders, regardless of their carrier — we have publicly committed to this from the outset and have proposed a framework to reach agreements with all carriers to join the network under commercially reasonable terms,” a Rogers spokesperson said.

“In the meantime, 9-1-1 services continue to be available for all TTC riders on the existing legacy network, and we’re committed to expanding the availability of 9-1-1 and working to add 9-8-8 service for all riders as soon as it becomes available.”

Updated 30/05/2023 12:49pm ET: The article has been updated with additional comments from the TTC.

Updated 30/05/2023 3:05pm ET: The article has been updated with a response from Rogers.

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Source: Robert Malcolmson/ LinkedIn