Friday 8 October 2010

Rogers Responds to Bell Deferral Account Appeal

On 4 Oct 10, Rogers filed a Comments paper with the CRTC on the matter of Bell’s appeal of CRTC Telecom Decision 2010-637 concerning Bell’s use of Deferral Account funds. In particular, Rogers objected to allowing Bell to use HSPA cellular technology to provide broadband (high speed) Internet to unserved areas.

To support their objective, they claimed that Bell and Rogers either separately or together are already providing HSPA service in 93 of the identified Deferral Account 112 locations. They cited the current coverage maps available on the Bell and Rogers websites as the basis for this claim.

The following is information exacted from the published documents submitted by Rogers and applies to the Deferral Account areas in the Algoma District.


Rogers HSPA



TBayTel Exp*


St. Joseph Island



SSM - Airport




TBayTel Exp*


Echo Bay



*- Refers to a TBayTel/Rogers agreement to provide a Rogers compatible HSPA overlay by 4Q 2011.

In my estimation, the Rogers claim that broadband (high speed) Internet is available by means of the supposed HSPA coverage in these locations is bogus. While there is partial service in some of the areas, it can hardly be considered as coverage. The images below are extracted from the Bell, Rogers and TBayTel coverage maps.

In all cases they show there is only partial coverage in the affected Deferral Account areas in spite of the fact coverage maps published by carriers are notoriously optimistic. This quote from the Rogers site indirectly confirms this:  “The map is a general representation of wireless coverage, current and future, where indicated. The areas shown are approximate. Actual coverage area may vary from map graphics. Reception may be affected by various factors, including system availability and capacity, customer's equipment, signal strength, topography and environmental conditions. Charges are based on the location of the site receiving and transmitting the signal, not the location of the subscriber.”

Another factor conveniently ignored by Rogers is that the coverage is not uniform even within the areas the maps designate as served. Trials by currently subscribers have shown that HSPA based broadband (high speed) Internet is not available within the areas even when a mast or tower mounted external Yagi antenna is used. Bell’s proposal calls for the construction of additional broadband (high speed) Internet sites (towers).

The Rogers submission only concerns the impact of Deferral Account funds on corporate finances and does not address the financial impact on users of defaulting to the in place HSPA service at the existing rates. The Bell Deferral Account proposal will provide robust service at a fraction of the cost that the existing HSPA would cost for the same amount of usage, provided it was even available.

Rogers proposes that the CRTC conduct an auction and allot the Deferral Account funds to the vendor that can prove the most efficient use of the funds to provide broadband (high speed) Internet. This proposal does have a certain amount of logic, especially if one is not currently eligible to receive any Deferral Account funds. Unfortunately, the regulatory and “red tape” that would need to be developed would likely take years to implement. It also glosses over the history of how and why the Deferral Accounts were created in the first place; it was a way to protect for alternate service providers like Rogers and others from unfair rate competition as they first entered the market place. In a manner of speaking, Rogers is proposing that it be allowed bid for a “double dip.”

Bell Coverage Goulais

Rogers Coverage SSM-Airport, Echo Bay,



Bell Coverage SSM-Airport, Echo Bay, St. Joseph Island

Rogers Coverage St. Joseph Island



Bell Coverage Wawa

Rogers Coverage Goulais




TBayTel Goulais and Wawa



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