WHEREAS TELUS has owned the monopoly outright on the landline system since 1991 which has been and continues to be a vital link for communication including the 911 system across Alberta; and
WHEREAS wireless connectivity has been declared a necessary utility yet many Albertan’s still do not have access to secure and stable wireless connectivity and rely on a landline system for communication and internet; and
WHEREAS the lack of investment in maintenance of landline infrastructure creates the perception that wireless is TELUS’ preferred option;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) request that Service Alberta direct TELUS to maintain their complete landline network until such time that there are assurances that the wireless system is as secure, economical and stable as the previous landline system has been; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that RMA request that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) review the original agreement with TELUS to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities.
The landline system that has serviced the remote areas where scarce population and greater distance has always been a challenge is in jeopardy of no longer being serviced because of economics of having to support two systems of copper lines and wireless. Many areas of rural Alberta, including the Municipal District of Spirit River, are still experiencing a reluctance on the part of TELUS to bury temporary cables that have been laid as stop gap measures for temporary landline repairs. These temporary cables get broken by mowers and farming operations causing service disruptions. Spring flooding also interrupts services as pedestals are outdated, broken and exposed to the weather. There are also discussions that the computer network of switches on the landline system is becoming outdated. As the landline system is left to degrade, it is forcing people to choose options that are wireless; however, the scarce population and greater distance is still a challenge for the wireless network and therefore the rural population is being under served for both systems with no viable opportunity for safe secure and reliable communication links. One reliable landline system is required until a wireless network can replace the efficient, secure, reliable system of the past. Rural Alberta cannot be in a transition with two poor systems.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Telecommunications companies, including major telephone companies, fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and are regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. As such, Service Alberta (SA) and the Government of Alberta are unable to put requirements on telecommunications companies in Alberta.
As part of the ongoing stakeholder relationship with TELUS, SA will discuss the maintenance of the landline network with TELUS.
RMA has not yet received a response to this resolution from the CRTC.
RMA appreciates the response from Service Alberta and their offer to discuss maintenance of the landline network with TELUS. RMA will contact ISED regarding this issue.
RMA assigns this resolution a status of Incomplete Information and will continue to advocate on this issue.