Canadian telecoms firms start broadband initiative

Telecoms companies Allstream and Inukshuk Internet, along with financial investment firm NR Communications, have partnered to...

Telecoms companies Allstream and Inukshuk Internet, along with financial investment firm NR Communications, have partnered to form a broadband service to serve Canadian homes and small businesses.

Their multipoint communications system (MCS) will provide high-speed internet and IP-based voice and local networking services using broadband wireless access technology, said John McLennan, vice-president and chief executive officer of Allstream.

The venture will see the three companies as equal partners, each contributing a combination of cash, assets and services representing a total of £60.7m, McLennan said.

The first part of the initiative began with Allstream contributing £2.2m to the project, NR Communications contributing the equivalent of £2.2m in equipment and Inukshuk contributing the use of its licence spectrum.

"This phase allows the parties to validate technological and commercial acceptance and to develop a detailed business plan," McLennan said.

During the second phase, which is expected to begin next year, Allstream will invest up to £4.5m in cash and £13.5m in services including a national IP network and local access facilities.

NR Communications will provide an additional £18m of network equipment during phase two and Inukshuk will contribute the licence spectrum to the venture.

"The objective of this venture is to create a standalone business to successfully roll out next-generation broadband wireless solutions," McLennan said. "This is why we created a separate entity - to give the venture a level of independence from its founders and to allow for us to maximise its market potential."

Microcell president and CEO Andre Tremblay said Canadian consumers and businesses will get the benefits of "a truly self-installed, plug-and-play, high-speed internet package, which is based on broadband wireless access technologies".

he added, "A unique feature of our offering will allow for portability within the network… a significant advantage to consumers when compared to fixed services which limit use to a single location."

NR Communications CEO Nick Kauser said the business would integrate advanced local area network features, which will allow the customers to connect multiple devices.

The companies have not finalised any pricing details at this point in time.

Allstream’s McLennan said that the venture will initially operate as a wholesaler, offering services through many different service providers including Allstream and Microcell. The companies are targeting Canadian small office and home office (SoHo) users.

He added that the network will be rolled out shortly, and that the first commercial service would launch sometime next year.

Lindsay Bruce writes for

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