Concerns emerge over rural coverage from foreign carriers

by Andrew Roach on August 30, 2013

Since the government eased the rules on foreign firms entering into the Canadian market, there has been much discussion about what effect it will have on the state of the industry across the country.

There has been lots of fuss about Verizon’s reported entry into the market and the possible impact it would have on carriers across the country should they choose to enter into the upcoming 700MHz auction.

But one matter that has yet to be addressed so far is what sort of coverage those living in rural areas will receive from new entrants into the Canadian industry.

It’s an issue that is fast becoming a problem with figures in the industry concerned that the carriers might forget about providing a strong service to those living in the country.div style=”float: right”>

One of the major problems surrounding the matter is that new entrants, particularly overseas firms, are only required to cover a minimum of 20-50% of the population in any region where they have a license to operate.

This law means that companies can focus all their efforts to suit customers living in larger urban areas meaning rural customers could be paying more for services which they might only be able to use on a limited basis, if at all.

It marks a stark contrast to what the currently top domestic networks have to comply with as Rogers, Bell and Telus are required to ensure they cover 90% of all their licensed networks within the next few years to ensure that rural residents get equal services no matter if they live in the city or the country.

Even though a few industry figures have voiced their concerns on the subject, the federal government has remained confident that foreign networks like Verizon would provide affordable services to rural residents. This was outlined by Industry Canada spokesman Derek Mellon who told The Globe and Mail that: “We have set strong rural deployment conditions – the first of their kind in Canada.”

Having spent a lot of hard work trying to improve the state of mobile technology in rural areas over the past 20 years or so, the government will be hoping that the frameworks will be enough to encourage carriers to distribute their coverage evenly throughout their license area.

With the situation in rural areas having coming such a long way in the past few years, it’ll be important for foreign carriers to realise the importance of covering all parts of Canada to ensure that the telecom industry becomes more competitive and cheaper for consumers in the near future.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube

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