Bell and Telus Still Scrapping Over Military Contract

by Jordan Richardson on August 5, 2010

Telus has asked for a “referee” in the ongoing and bitter battle between it and Bell Canada over a telecom contract with the Department of Defence. The contract is worth $213 million.

This all started about two years ago when Bell lost a bid to continue providing telephone, data, internet, and wireless services to the Department. Telus was on deck and was to have set up the Global Defence Network Services contract by June of 2008, but the switch dragged on and on for several months.

Because Telus struggled with the changeover, the federal government had to continue to use the services of Bell during the tenure of the switch. The cost of this was back-billed over to Telus.

The CRTC was brought in to the case and sided with Bell, upholding the price they charged for their services. In the latest round in this slugfest, Telus is heading further up the chain to cabinet to petition them to have the regulator “revisit” their findings from earlier.

This whole situation recalls another earlier round in the fight when Telus accused Bell of deliberately obstructing the changeover process to drag it out. That’s a charge that Bell denies, of course. Telus complained in November of 2008 that Bell “increasingly seems to be engaging in conduct apparently designed to take customers to the brink of termination, even actually refuse service orders to gain leverage in negotiations and discipline the customer.”

Technical difficulties and glitches in the changeover held things up considerably and, at one point, telephone and service interruptions were experienced by two military bases in Canada.

Telus’ contract covers both open and secure military networks, so there was some buzz at the time of the changeover about the glitches and any possible security risks. Both the Department of Defence and Telus denied any security risks over the difficulties.

This latest round in the dispute appears to press similar buttons, as Telus flatly doesn’t want to pay for the problems involved in the changeover. Telus isn’t providing any specifics on what Bell has done to delay the changeover, but they are still pressing forward with their insistence on not paying what the CRTC has decided.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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Telus Appeals to Federal Cabinet Over Department of Defence Contract — TheTelecomBlog.com
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