Northern Telephone 'definitely interested,' in O.N. Telcom

By Kevin Anderson
For The Northern Times

Pierre Brochu, new President and CEO of Northern Telephone and Télébec was in Kapuskasing yesterday, and held a media conference to discuss a variety of topics - possibly the most intriguing of which is the potential purchase of O.N. Telcom from the provincial government.

"Northern Telephone would definitely be interested in acquiring O.N. Telcom should the opportunity arise," said Mr. Brochu. "It would definitely be a positive addition to the Northern Telephone/Télébec family. I can't really comment any further on that since we're going to have to wait and see what the government decides to do first."

Much of the rest of the discussion focused on Northern Telephone - Télébec alliance which Mr. Brochu expects to benefit both companies immensely.
"While the companies will remain separate entities, the infrastructure which has been implemented will allow them both to function under one management team," he said.

"It is our mission as a whole to keep our customers connected to the world by offering competitive integrated telecommunications to the unique areas we service over a 900,000 kilometer spread."

Some of the proposed improvements have already been initiated, including the upgrading of high speed internet services - which Northern Telephone Vice President of Sales and Customer Care Dave McGirr says will benefit people of the north two fold.
"Firstly, it will allow us to reach our services out to a broader ranged area," he said. "And the second benefit is that as more people take advantage of the service, we will be able to offer it at a cost to the consumer which will be competitive with any other high-speed internet service."

Mr. McGirr continued, saying that one of the other items on the immediate agenda is Northern Telephone's mobility service. McGirr explained that as of now, Northern Telephone is working on plugging up the holes between service areas and that eventually, the company will be switching over to digital - an upgrade which Mr. Brochu cautions may not be soon on the way.

"There will come a time when analog towers will become completely obsolete and we will have to go digital. At that time, we will of course have prioritize the areas who more desperately need the upgrade," he said. "More often than not, these types of things are decided on density of population. So it may take a while to get here, but it will get here."

Mr. Brochu concluded the discussions, stating that perhaps the greatest benefit to northerners from the newly form Telebec - Northern Telephone alliance, is that now the two subdivisions of Bell Canada have the opportunity to make more of the decisions which affect the people in their service areas most.

"When Bell Canada looks at the regions covered by the two companies, it may seem like a pretty insignificant piece of the market share to worry about," he said. "But we are here together now to not only maintain the current services for northerners, but also to expand and modernize them. I am very excited about the opportunities for our future in this region."

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Original file name: Story3 - converted on Thursday, 1 March 2001, 16:32