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My guess is that it may depend on how old the copper plant is and its condition in your area.

MTS back in the 80's replaced a lot of the 30-40 year old telephone cable in Winnipeg due to its poor condition. The plant you have may be newer (no paper insulation or lead splices) and expected to last longer. It may not be replaced until its either so bad they have no spare pairs or its reached the end of its financial write-off and they can start taking deductions again by putting in new cable.
 

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I doubt if Bell even knows what it will do yet. If Ontario is any indication, it will likely have nothing to do with the condition of the existing services. They will upgrades areas that yield the most profit and the best political advantage. Areas with FTTN could get upgraded to FTTH while others that have unreliable DSL and POTS could get nothing.
 

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In terms of the BCE purchase of MTS being denied on competition grounds, outside of the issues on the wireless side there would be no change in the amount of completion. The wireless side is more complex though.

In terms of the type and selection of channels offered under BCE, if anything it would improve under BCE. As one of the three main channel operators in Canada BCE is subject to carriage regulations that do not apply to MTS. Also with single channel Pick and Pay being a mandatory regulation around the time the BCE deal is expected to close it would be a non-issue. Outside of the 4K channels which MTS does not currently carry and FXX, MTS offers every channel I can think of which is authorized for distribution in Canada, at least on the English language side.

In terms of a fiber build out under BCE, I would expect wave 1 would be turning on the existing FTTH which is already installed but not currently used. After that the rollouts will probably start in the neighbourhoods with the highest publically reported family incomes and move down the list until either the capital expenditure runs out or the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is not seeing increases compared to the existing VDSL services.

In terms of cslusarc and his "classic" network, would it be correct to say you can get broadband (high speed) Internet from MTS but not tv? All current TV eligible addresses are services by VDSL2 or fiber except in select rural communities.
 

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BCE intends to invest $1 billion in the five years after the transaction closes to:
•Make Gigabit Fibe Internet, offering average access speeds up to 20 times faster than what MTS customers receive today, available within 12 months after the transaction closes,
•Expand the mobile LTE network and make improvements to mobile data speeds that will double our customer's average download speeds, and
•Provide access to Fibe TV, North America's most innovative TV platform.
I thought I would put Bell's press release into context.

MTS' 2015 annual report shows capital expenditures were just over $1 billion in the last 5 years, so Bell's level of spending in MTS would remain about the same as the past.

Bell's first step in making Gigabit Fibe Internet available would be to enable gigabit speeds on the existing FTTH connections that MTS installed over the last 5 years ($125 million for 120,000 homes in about 20 Manitoba communities.) See thread http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/193-mts/138517-mts-bringing-fibre-home-steinbach-dauphin-more.html. It's hard to say if Bell plans to rewire Winnipeg for FTTH.

Both MTS and Bell have stopped doing new FTTN installations since the cost is just as high as FTTH. Bell are tweaking their FTTN networks in Ontario to support 4HD TV streams and seem to be more flexible in allowing pair bonding for higher internet speeds (e.g. 50 Mbps.)

It's unlikely that they would install new nodes to service the few "dead spots" in Winnipeg. They may be able use pair bonding to increase the reach of an existing node.

cslusarc, I doubt BELL/MTS would install FTTN in your area since it is semi-rural and distance from the node would be a problem.
 

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MTS annual general meeting and Q1 quarterly report will be on Wednesday May 11th online so I'm sure this sale will be mentioned more then.


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cslusarc - Pretty sure have covered this over on the MTS Community forums -- the area you live in lacks the residential/business density needed to make an upgrade for MTS economically viable. This video sums up the issue pretty nicely and was part of a larger presentation on the issue of rural broadband services in Canada. While it talks somewhat about the specific of the Bowen Island community you could change some of those references to Narol and it would still be equally relevant.

Short of being willing to double or more how much you are paying for Internet access to see marginal gains, say moving from 5/1 to 10/2 in terms of speed, the cost to run the infrastructure is not sustainable.

Watch the video for more info.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veStCemQClg

PS: The community owned broadband talked about in the video is nearly identical to paying for the improvements your a Local Improvement Levy.
 

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Response to Competition Bureau

Here the my submission to the Competition Bureau:

Submission by CoryB said:
I am writing you regarding the proposed purchase of MTS by BCE. I have several levels of concern specifically regarding competition.

1. The allocation of wireless spectrum in Manitoba is the top concern of mine. As MTS was not a national wireless company it was allowed to bid on and acquire wireless spectrum that had been set aside for "new entrants" such as Wind Mobile, Moblicity, etc. As Bell was at the time its own separate company it was allowed to also bid on spectrum which it won. As part of the proposed purchase I strongly hope the ownership of wireless spectrum of the combined BCE and MTS will be reviewed in depth to specifically ensure that wireless spectrum allows a fourth carrier to enter the Manitoba market at some point. I feel that the concentration of wireless spectrum between BCE and their close partner Telus in Manitoba would pose a significant and long term barrier to additional competition in the market without action on this front.

2. In terms of current wireless customers BCE has proposed transferring 1/3 of the existing MTS customers to Telus. It is concerning that the specific details of how customers will be assigned has not be published. It is also concerning that the exact financial terms of this deal are not part of the information made public by BCE. It is even more concerning that the proposed transaction from move both Telus and BCE from each having under 10% of the wireless customers in Manitoba to nearly equal positions with Rogers, creating a pretty even three sided market. On this front, I feel it would benefit both competition and the residents of Manitoba if the 1/3 of customers to be transferred need to be divested with supporting wireless spectrum to a "new entrant", as in a company other than BCE, Telus or Rogers.

3. Having both Telus and BCE with under 10% of the market is actually a significant contributor to the current wireless rates in Canada which are well below the Canadian average and near the best the in the world. While the current Manitoba wireless rates are low they also offer significant revenue to the companies providing service suggesting these rates are sustainable over the long term. To help ensure that wireless rates in Manitoba continue to remain competitive and reflecting the local conditions of the market I would like to request that increases to wireless rates by BCE in Manitoba be subjected to the approval of the Manitoba Public Utilities Board, or similar organization, for a period of not less than 10 years. At the end of 10 year period this restriction would be open to being lifted but only after another review and public comment period.

4. On the high speed Internet service side I am hoping it can be clarified in written direction from the competition board that BCE must open all their data networks, including all forms of DSL, fiber and any future technology, to third parties wishing to use the networks to provide service. This would mirror the recent CRTC ruling and the appeal that was declined today (May 11, 2016) as linked below. Having this is writing as a permanent condition on BCE would further expand the possibilities of competition in Manitoba as the MTS network is currently not available to third parties.

Ottawa rejects BCE appeal; must give small players Internet access - The Globe and Mail

5. In light of the ruling on opening the data network to third parties it is concerned that BCE will limit network upgrades in Manitoba. To this front it is desired that a special levy be applied to high speed internet customers to create a fund for infrastructure upgrades. Due to the cost difference in providing service I would propose creating two separate funds for these upgrades in Manitoba one for urban customers and one for rural customers. These funds would be billed as a separate line item on customers monthly bills specific to network upgrades. Having funds specifically set aside for upgrades is hoped to further encourage BCE to make network upgrades in Manitoba an on-going commitment and not a one-time promise of $1 billion over five years.

6. Similar to separating out the cost of the network upgrade above, it is desired to require BCE to split the cost of wireless hardware (phone purchase) and wireless service into separate line items on customers monthly bills. By having these items split will open the wireless hardware (phone) market to additional competition as customers will no longer be penalized with higher monthly service costs when they bring their own device as they are today across all carriers including MTS and BCE. For example a customer selecting a new iPhone was $20 from their bill allocated to the cost of that hardware purchase however a customer purchasing their own iPhone would only receive a $10 bill credit.

On a whole, I feel the BCE proposed purchase of MTS will be a step forward but I also feel some conditions need to be put in place to ensure a fair and open competitive market in Manitoba in both the short and long term after this deal closes.
 

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For anyone that's interested MTS reported Q1 https://about.mts.ca/investors/financial-reports/
Looks like MTS shareholders will be voting on June 23rd. Also looks like MTS is continuing their transformation of the organization. It just briefly talks about the BCE acquisition.


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Just a heads up that I got a tip from someone that has filed comments on these type of deals before and it is looking like the Competition Bureau is wanting to quickly close the BCE purchase of MTS so get your comments in ASAP.
 

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So you proposed a levy on the Internet? Sorry but Bell doesn't need extra money, they can more than afford to pay for upgrades themselves!
 

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With BCE being forced by the CRTC to have their data network completely open there is an extremely strong incentive for Bell to not invest a single nickel in wired network upgrades. That is why I suggested a separate fund that is only to be used for those upgrades.
 

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A fund is not necessary. All that is required is some real competition. In places where Google or local organizations threaten to install a cheaper, faster network, the incumbents magically seem to be able to upgrade infrastructure and lower prices. Just announce plans to create your own network and Bell will probably make your area a priority.
 

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I'm posting this press release here since the announcement seems to be contingent on the Bell/MTS deal being approved - particularly the reference to the new company name "Bell MTS will hit the ground running..."

It looks like a pretty transparent ploy to get the Manitoba government and the public onside. This is something that could easily be done by MTS as a standalone company, although it might be done at a more gradual pace depending on the cost.

My guess is these new towers may technically be part of the Bell cell network and not part of the co-funded MTS-Rogers network which will continue until 2031 (I think).

Bell and MTS to complete wireless coverage on Manitoba Highway 75

Bell and MTS today announced plans to ensure continuous broadband wireless coverage along Highway 75, Manitoba's main transportation corridor linking Winnipeg with the United States border at Emerson.
"Bell MTS will hit the ground running in Manitoba with major new investments in broadband communications, including the completion of full wireless coverage along this critical transportation route," said Wade Oosterman, Group President of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada responsible for all Bell wireless, residential and media services. "The gaps in coverage along this high-traffic corridor have been a concern to residents, businesses and travellers of all kinds. Building better communications networks is what Bell does best, and we're proud to announce this investment to extend our award-winning mobile technology on Manitoba's Highway 75."

An important enabler of economic development in the province, Highway 75 is Manitoba's most important north-south link, and the border crossing at Emerson and Pembina, North Dakota is one of the busiest in Western Canada. Residents and travelers along this route currently experience limited coverage along 3 stretches of Highway 75: between Ste. Agathe and Morris, between Morris and Highway 14, and between Highway 201 and Emerson.

Three major new Bell MTS wireless cell sites linked by broadband fibre will close these gaps to ensure continuous 4G LTE and HSPA+ coverage all along the highway...
 

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Bell can use their CKY tower for cell infrastructure in the St Agathe area, and use the old microwave-periscope tower close to Letellier (or piggy-back with Hydro). Little cost for minimal gain and great optics.
Maybe BCE will run some fiber to their existing cell towers in the area and replace the old copper lines... Existing towers have great coverage (range) but no bandwidth. Time will tell.
 

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Here in the east Bell took over Bell Aliant. Little changed. No need to change emails unless you chose to. Bell Aliant internet / Fibe packages remain different from Bell's. Cell coverage was fully integrated with Bell but most of the other services, store signage etc. have continued much as they were before. That included BA's unlimited internet policies by the way. Don't know if the MTS deal will be as invisible but it might be.
 
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