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Weekend Newsstand: August 17, 2013

Pack up and leave the week behind; it's weekend time. Kick it off with some news: police investigate Rob Ford's friends for links to crack video, cell service in TTC stalled, new priority neighbourhoods, Pape station closure, and snakes in a motel.

newsstand jeremy kai spring 3

The saga within a scandal within a police investigation within another thing that is the Rob Ford crack video story takes another turn. It seems the police are investigating some of Ford’s friends, some of whom allegedly tried to track down the alleged video, allegedly. The Star has the epic and detailed cast of characters that surround the mayor. Some live in their parents’ basements. Many have previous drug and assault charges. More than one have driven the mayor around.

The plan to get cell service in the tunnels of the TTC is not going according to plan, as none of the big three cell carriers are signed on. The company in charge of the project, BAI Canada Inc., has until December to get Rogers, Bell, and Telus to come around, at which time they’ll get a year-long extension. But as the Post reports, a similar project in Montreal’s metro didn’t get off the ground until the big three were able to control it themselves. In the meantime, we can still share that moment around Rosedale station when everyone eagerly refreshes Instagram.

The City is looking to choose new priority neighbourhoods by next year. The awkward program, started eight years ago, singles out areas in need of extra attention and focuses funds from city agencies and not-for-profits into the area. A new quantitative ranking system will help determine what the new neighbourhoods will be. And the city hopes the system doesn’t just spit out the same 13 they already have.

Pape Station will be closed for two weeks starting Monday. Customers voted to close the station in order to speed up work on a facelift that’s had the station covered in construction hoarding for a while now. Trains won’t stop there and buses will detour, but the Tim Hortons is staying open. Thank goodness.

And a bunch of pythons and python eggs (which are somehow creepier even if less lively), found in a Brantford motel room last week are under the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The snakes were in plastic storage bins and apparently accompanied by a couple and five young children. So this is probably better.


  • Jacob

    “In the meantime, we can still share that moment around Rosedale station when everyone eagerly refreshes Instagram.”

    That’s very Downtown-centric. It in the east end it’s just after Main Street when everyone pulls out their phones and checks the net.

    • Erica

      Yep, and how about Eglinton West station for folks on the Spadina line?

      • adamd1

        Or the spot between Keele and High Park for those on the west Bloor Danforth Line? But yeah, I’ve seen that happen at Rosedale. Kind of funny.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Oh no! Something downtown-centric! Take the chil’n to the cellar and pray for dawn!

  • OgtheDim

    ” But as the Post reports, a similar project in Montreal’s metro
    didn’t get off the ground until the big three were able to control it

    Umm…so what they are saying is until they can ensure that none of the other providers gets in, they won’t.

    Bad enough that the TTC contract insists that only the big 3 must be included (its a 75% threshold, not a 100%). Now the Big 3 want to kick out their competition completely?

    But, hey, how about closing those “loopholes”?

    • canuck1975

      It was a consortium of Bell, Rogers, TELUS & Videotron. The four main carriers that have a network in Montreal. I would imagine that with mandatory roaming coming by the end of the year all carriers will have access deepening on their network access agreements.

    • Testu

      This is the same group of companies running a radio ad campaign to tell us how unfair it is that foreign owned companies are being allowed to come to Canada and compete with them on the infrastructure that they built with our money (infrastructure grants, gov’t sanctioned regional monopolies, etc.).

      At this point I’m not in the least bit surprised that they’d throw a temper tantrum and refuse to cooperate unless they can lock out their competition.

      • canuck1975

        That’s a big assumption. What we don’t know is what kind of deal BAI has offered to the wireless companies.

        • Testu

          That’s true, perhaps I should rephrase my comment.

          At this point I would not be the least bit surprised to find out that they’re throwing a temper tantrum and refuseing to cooperate unless they can lock out their competition.

        • OgtheDim

          What part of “until the big three were able to control it themselves” do we not understand?

          They repeatedly lock out the smaller players from tower sites, even though the vast majority of those tower sites were built with public money.

          That’s what they do…get governments to build stuff as part of infrastructure budgets, say they’ll run things, and then lock out competitors.

          • canuck1975

            I’m not sure what government money you’re talking about regarding cellular services. The government definitely gave subsidies to Bell Canada in the 20th century to build out the land-line infrastructure but we’re talking about money that was given 100 years ago.

            If you want to read about the history of cellular in Canada you can read it here:

            Rogers was the first company to have cellular services in 1985. Everyone else jumped on the bandwagon in 1989 & 1995. Alberta sold off their last stake in TELUS in 1991. Bell’s public structure was finalized in 1983. I take it you’re suggesting that the government gave three private companies a few billion (yes, billion) dollars to build their networks that cell service runs on which, frankly, wouldn’t be the case. The spectrum was given away for free. That’s it.

            Full disclosure – I work for one of the big three and have a bias accordingly. Having said that, I wish the government would subsidize the capital requirements of our business – it would secure our industry’s ability to grow.

          • Testu

            I’d be fine with the government completely owning the infrastructure side of your business (and telecom in general) and simply having the service providers lease access to the infrastructure and compete on offering services.

          • canuck1975

            The spectrum was given away for free in 1989 and 1995, the latter of which was given away for free to create competition to Rogers. No incremental spectrum was available that was cellular compatible until 2008 when the government auctioned it off.

            Not sure what your point is regarding the landline infrastructure. Let’s think of other things the government funded years ago that are no longer owned by the government: Air Canada, Petro-Canada, CNR. Who cares how much funding the government gave to any of them 50-100 years ago?

          • Testu

            I care, because it has created an environment where Bell Canada has ownership of a significant portion of Canadian telecom infrastructure. Which they’ve used to stifle competition and solidify their market position at every possible opportunity.

            The CRTC has had to force them to share their last mile infrastructure with the local carriers to just to create something that begins to resemble a competitive market. It’s still a joke but it’s better than what we’d have if they’d had their way (they campaigned against open access too).

            The only reason they are the sole owners of said infrastructure is because they were granted exclusive rights to develop the original infrastructure way-back-when they were still just “Bell”.

            On the cellular front, they were literally given valuable spectrum space to create competition for another provider that was also given spectrum space. Everyone since then has had to pay to play*. Their market position is directly due to an indirect subsidy from the Canadian public (the otherwise quite pricey spectrum licenses). Now they’re complaining that companies from outside Canada are going to get to pay to build on what they were given for free.

            *I realize that these are different spectrum allotments and they haven’t all been available at the same time, but they are all being used for wireless telecom, so my point remains.

          • OgtheDim

            Thanks for being honest

            Cell towers in the 90′s were largely funded by the Federal government. (I remember Clearnet and Microcell)

            Big 3 had their subsidy.