Landmark CRTC Internet ruling opens door to innovation, says Canada’s fastest-growing telecom firm

But Iristel Inc. warns public investment must go beyond ‘the same old players’ to companies committed to competition and enhanced services for Canadians

Markham, ON, December 22, 2016 – Iristel Inc., Canada’s largest and fastest-growing Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) with operations in all 10 provinces and three territories, applauds the regulator’s ruling that high-speed Internet is a basic service and must be available to all Canadians.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission also set bold targets for upload and download speeds and a new fund that will invest up to $750 million over the next five years to expand broadband, especially in rural and remote areas of the country.

“It is refreshing to see that the CRTC acknowledges the status quo is not working and that it is serious about helping to bridge the Digital Divide in this country,” said Iristel President Samer Bishay. “But it is critically important that the money – coming from customers’ bills and taxpayers – be invested wisely and not simply doled out to the same old players who often aim to stifle competition instead of enhance innovation.

“The Digital Divide is more than geography. It’s also incumbent complacency. One need only look at Canada’s most remote regions in the North where Bell and its subsidiary have squandered hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidies over the years and customers receive worse telecom services than many people in Africa,” Bishay says.

He points to a company he co-founded, Toronto-based Kepler Communications Inc., that is launching mini-satellites the size of footballs within the year for enhanced data communications anywhere in Canada, especially rural and remote areas. Wall Street investors recently ponied up $5 million to Kepler.

“It’s companies like Kepler that can really kick start the CRTC’s goals, not incumbent phone companies with their bloated bureaucracies and anti-competitive tendencies,” Bishay said.

About Iristel

Founded in 1999 and licenced by the CRTC, Markham-based Iristel is Canada’s only carrier with facilities in all 10 provinces and three territories with a network extending Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast. It is the majority owner of Ice Wireless, a facilities-based mobile network operator that delivers state-of-the-art 3G/4G HSPA+ technology to rural and remote areas in Canada’s North with LTE coming in 2017.

For more information, please visit @iristel

Media Contact:

Bob Brehl
T: +1-416-800-0010

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