Wireless Broadband in Canada

16 Sep ’05

Rogers and Bell are bringing wireless broadband to Canada. The press release is here:

Inukshuk will be owned and controlled equally by Rogers and Bell and will plan, design, build, operate and maintain a Canada-wide wireless broadband telecommunications network. Bell and Rogers will each have the right to use 50 per cent of the network’s total transmission capacity. Sales, marketing, end- user customer care and billing functions will be provided directly by Rogers and Bell to their respective customers.

The companies will jointly and equally fund the initial network deployment costs estimated at $200 million over a three-year period, completing a network footprint that will cover over 40 cities and approximately 50 unserved rural and remote communities across Canada. Inukshuk expects to negotiate a roaming agreement with Clearwire Corporation, a U.S.- based company building a similar wireless broadband network, allowing Rogers and Bell to offer customers access to an extensive Canada-U.S. wireless broadband footprint. Inukshuk plans to continue to use network equipment manufactured by NextNet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clearwire Corporation. As standards-based technologies emerge, Inukshuk is committed to evaluating their feasibility and evolving to such standards as appropriate.

Rogers currently controls and will contribute to the joint venture its entire broadband wireless spectrum in the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz frequency ranges. Bell controls and will contribute to the joint venture all of its broadband wireless spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz frequency ranges.

Separately, Bell has reached an agreement with companies controlled directly or indirectly by Craig McCaw under which Bell will acquire the remaining 50 per cent of NR Communications that it does not already own. NR Communications and a subsidiary of Rogers are the two partners in the current Inukshuk joint venture which holds approximately 98 MHz of wireless broadband spectrum in the 2.5 GHz frequency range across much of Canada.

Mark Evans’ initial take on it is here. Mark notes “the Bell-Rogers JV will not use the Wi-Max standard but, rather, the NextNet technology developed by NR Communications. It is often described as pre-Wi-Max.”

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