TORONTO — Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne’s newly launched consultation process regarding wireless access on Toronto’s subway system proposes a timeline that could see the dispute between carriers resolved by December and partial service rolled out for all customers by the middle of 2024.
Noting a lack of progress in negotiations on Monday, Champagne announced an expedited consultation process to revise the licences of all four of Canada’s major wireless carriers “to ensure that all TTC riders have coverage, including 911 service, in all tunnels and stations, followed by voice, data and text as soon as technically feasible.”
Parties would have until Aug. 8 to submit comments on the proposed licence conditions, plus another 15 days to respond to other submissions, followed by a 30-day window to complete negotiations after Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada posts a decision.
If Rogers Communications Inc., which owns the rights to the TTC’s cellular network, and rivals Bell Canada, Telus Corp. and Quebecor Inc. fail to meet the deadline, they would be required to enter an arbitration proceeding, which must be completed within 70 days.
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Once negotiations or arbitration have concluded, each major carrier would be required to offer voice, text and data services in all TTC stations within the following six months and 80 per cent of subway tunnels within two years.
A TTC report this month said the transit agency expects Rogers will be able to provide 5G capability along tunnels and stations from Union Station north to St. George and Bloor-Yonge stations by the start of the school year, but remained mum on whether customers of other companies will have service this fall.
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