BCE closes $3.1-billion MTS deal

BCE Inc. has closed its $3.1-billion deal to acquire Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. and says it will begin investing in networks and offering its Fibe-branded television and Internet services in the province.

The companies announced the friendly takeover last May but only received the final necessary federal approvals last month. BCE announced Friday it has completed the transaction as planned and will pick up a total of 710,000 wireless, TV and Internet customers.

Manitoba was one of the last provinces with a regional telephone company that offered competition in the wireless market to the Big Three national carriers: BCE, Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp.

Wireless prices in the province are lower than in many other parts of the country, and to win the blessing of the Competition Bureau and the federal Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, BCE agreed to transfer 24,700 of its wireless subscribers (plus cellular airwaves and retail stores) to rural Internet provider Xplornet Communications Inc., which plans to launch a new mobile business in the province.

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BCE, the best performing telecom stock!


In case you missed yesterday’s big financial news, BCE released adjusted Q4 earnings. It looks like they’re outperforming everyone else and the bottom line is healthier than ever:

BCE Inc. (BCE.TO 0.00%) is raising its dividend five percent after fourth-quarter adjusted earnings met expectations and amid what the company’s CFO calls a “very strong” financial foundation.

As Canadians continue to flock to wireless everything, consume media on our phones, watch TV online, etc., BCE and its shareholders are reaping the rewards.

“Bell’s operating momentum and financial foundation going into 2016 are very strong,” said Chief Financial Officer Glen LeBlanc in a statement. “We expect to drive growth in underlying adjusted net earnings and a healthy year-over-year increase in free cash flow.”

With Bell’s continued investment in capital spending programs ($3B last year, likely to stay the same), the future looks clear and bright.

We love BCE. They’re our livelihood. Our Partners. Their success is our success, right? That’s why we approach our work for them with the spirit that we do.

So, naturally, we can expect to benefit in our share of the healthy bottom line, rewards, and increased free cash flow, right? I mean, the only thing that might get in the way would be if that success was to some degree dependent on keeping us down.

“Overall, results show continued resiliency in operations and strong cost control – a BCE management hallmark,” wrote Desjardins Capital Markets analyst Maher Yaghi in a note to clients Thursday morning.

I, for one, certainly hope that “strong cost control” isn’t code for “squeezing our unions.”

The Business News Network report sums up what the news means well in both the written post quoted from above and the series of great video interviews with analysts that loops at the top. Everyone is excited about how BCE is growing according to expectations, benefitting from wireless adoption, and BCEs infrastructure profile relative to that of its competitors across Canada.

It’s all good news for BCE. Let’s make sure incoming RBC Chief Executive Officer Gord Nixon, who will be nominated as chairperson of BCE, recognizes us for the role our work plays in BCEs success, instead of reporting profits based on paying us less.

“3 signs BTS workers have a lot of work coming down the pipe”


The CRTC says “Big Telco’s” Must Open Fiber-optic Networks to Upstarts

The CRTC released a decision last Wednesday that forces large Canadian telco’s to open access to their fibre-optic networks to competitors. Keep in mind that big telco’s are already required to do this with their copper-based networks. By following the same guidelines with fibre-optic networks, the CRTC believes it will level the playing field and foster competition.

Competitors will also no longer be forced to use an “aggregated” model of service. In other words, they will be able to tap into a single point of access of which there may be only one per province. As a result, smaller Internet service providers (ISPs) will actually pay more to have data shuffled back and forth based on distance.

A stipulation to the ruling is that competitors must agree to a “disaggregated” model of service, wherein they are required to plug-in much closer to the final consumer at a regional point of access. The smaller companies would then have to arrange transport of data from that regional interface to their own offices, either by installing their own fibre-optic cable, or by leasing it from an existing company. This is designed to discourage smaller competitors from acting as mere resellers of existing bandwidth. Instead, they in theory would add to the available bandwidth. But it also should reduce the cost that competitors have to pay.

For the BTS worker

The evidence demonstrates that we are moving to a wireline world in which there is one pipe to the consumer. We are rapidly evolving to a world where everything is delivered to the consumer over one pipe or one wireless connection – broadcasting and telecom services co-inhabiting networks, both wired and wireless. The demand for this network or infrastructure will be a driving force demanding skilled workers now and in the future.

Internet bandwidth is evolving; from being dominated by primarily alphanumeric text-based services to one increasingly dominated by audio and visual programming. Canadian consumers spend more time online than any other nation. We are the most intensive consumers of online video in the world.

Globally, consumer Internet video traffic will be 80% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, up from 64% in 2014. The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand [VOD], Internet, and peer-to-peer [P2P]) will be in the range of 80-90% of global consumer traffic by 2019; and Internet video to TV will continue to grow at a rapid pace, increasing fourfold by 2019. Internet video to TV traffic will be 17% of consumer Internet video traffic by 2019.

It’s not surprising, then, that BCE Inc. recently highlighted plans to direct $1.4 billion towards fibre-optic builds in the city of Toronto; a first step in a $20 billion plan to upgrade its broadband fibre and wireless networks across Canada by the end of 2020.

This is a race to the consumer that will provide BTS technicians with a great deal of work both now and in the future! It will be BTS that Bell relies on to service and provide customers with what they need and want. It is all of YOU who will make this happen!!!!

In Solidarity,

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O


Jobs, Justice and the Climate


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This weekend I was proud to take part in the March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate along with thousands of others from across Ontario and beyond.  We marched in support of a new economy that works for the people and for the planet.

Four different contingents were organized to show the major initiatives the march was representing.

Contingent 1 – recognized the rights of minority groups including Indigenous peoples, women and those communities hardest hit by climate change here and around the world.

Contingent 2 – taking action to improve the climate can strengthen the economy by creating good work, clean jobs and healthy communities.  This includes keeping Hydro public and fighting for a $15 minimum wage.

Contingent 3 – solutions to the climate crisis already exist: renewable energy, improved public transit, localized agriculture.  Unfortunately, many of those in a position that allows them to lead by example are unwilling to do so.  If they can’t step up, we will do it for them.

Contingent 4 – In order to build a new economy, we need to leave the old one behind.  Those responsible for the climate crisis – fossil fuel companies, big banks, mining companies – stand in the way of a cleaner tomorrow and we need to show that we can (and WILL) survive and thrive without them.

Overall there was a great turnout from minority groups, labour unions, social activists, political parties and environmental groups.  It was a great day that saw a very diverse group of people come together for a common goal – a new economy that works for the people and for the environment.

Some of those in attendance included Actor Jane Fonda, NDP MPs Andrew Cash and Peggy Nash, Unifor National President, Jerry Dias, Unifor National Representatives for multiple industries, Unifor Local 25 President and myself, Local 1996-O President, Sam Snyders.

It was a great day for everyone involved!  Thanks to all those who came out to show their support!!!

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O

Twitter: @SammySnyders