ontario news watch

Rogers urged minister not to turn off its customers’ access to 5G network on TTC

TORONTO — Newly released documents show that before Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne ruled Rogers Communications Inc. must grant its rivals access to its cellular network on Toronto’s subway, the company had urged Ottawa not to turn off access for its own customers.

In an Aug. 28 filing to Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada, the Toronto-based telecommunications company said “taking service away from any customer is clearly not in the public interest.”

The comments were part of the second phase of Champagne’s consultation process meant to expedite negotiations between the four major carriers on ensuring wireless access for all TTC subway riders.

The telecoms’ final submissions in that process were posted to ISED’s website last Friday — four days after Champagne announced new licence conditions requiring Rogers to provide BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. immediate access to the subway’s cellular infrastructure and share technical details.

The minister set a deadline of Oct. 3 for all passengers on the TTC subway system to have cellular connectivity, regardless of their carrier.

Just days before the federal review closed, Rogers unexpectedly rolled out high-speed 5G wireless service to its own customers in core parts of the downtown subway network, despite its rivals having argued it should have to wait until it would be technically feasible for all riders to use the mobile network.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:BCE, TSX:T)

The Canadian Press