Thirteen remote First Nations across northern Ontario rely on satellite services from Telesat Canada for their communication services. This past year Telesat Canada was the winning bid to provide 2 additional transponders for the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN) if and when funding is approved by Infrastructure Canada under the National Satellite Initiative.
BCE to sell Telesat in $3.42B deal
December 18, 2006 - CBC News
BCE Inc. said Monday it has launched a $3.42-billion deal to sell the Ottawa-based satellite operator Telesat Canada.
The buyers in the all-cash deal are the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, which is a Canadian Crown corporation, and Loral Space and Communications Inc., which is headquartered in New York City.
The new company will be known as Telesat and its headquarters will also be in Ottawa.
The pension plan will hold a 36 per cent economic stake in Telesat, but will hold voting control and a majority of seats on the company's board. Loral will hold a 64 per cent economic stake.
As part of the deal, Loral will contribute the fixed satellite services and network services assets of its Loral Skynet subsidiary, making Telesat the fourth-largest satellite operator in the world based on the number of satellites in orbit.
Dan Goldberg, the president and chief executive officer of Telesat, said the company will have 11 satellites in orbit, with four new ones slated for launch over the next three years.
The deal is expected to close in mid-2007.
Earlier in the year, BCE announced plans to sell a stake in Telesat. In September, the company filed papers for an initial public offering of Telesat shares.
But following BCE's decision not to proceed with an income trust conversion, CEO Michael Sabia said the company wasn't sure of its next step for the satellite subsidiary.
On Monday, Sabia said the sale of Telesat met his firm's ambitions.
"At the outset of this process, we set three goals," he said in a release.
"First, we were determined to surface the value of the asset. Second, we wanted to make certain any transaction fully protected the future of ExpressVu. And finally, we wanted to position Telesat as a truly global player in a rapidly consolidating industry.
He said the new company would be "global in scale, but Canadian-based and Canadian-controlled."
With about $30 billion in assets under management, PSP Investments is the pension fund manager for Canada's federal public service, the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
BCE has put in place a set of commercial arrangements between Telesat and Bell ExpressVu that guarantee ExpressVu access to current and expanded satellite capacity, including the launch of Nimiq 5 in 2009.
In the wake of the announcement, BCE shares gained 78 cents to close at $30.69 on the TSX.
To read the following CTV news story, click here
Telesat takeover part of industry makeover
By CATHERINE McLEAN AND ANDREW WILLIS, Globe and Mail Update
The pending takeover of Telesat Canada will transform the dominant Canadian satellite operator into one of the world's biggest players, opening the door to new markets, chief executive officer Daniel Goldberg says.
“This transaction catapults Telesat into the league of global operators,” Mr. Goldberg said Monday in a telephone interview.
BCE Inc. said Monday it has agreed to sell Telesat for $3.25-billion to a joint venture formed by Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board ( PSP Investments) and Loral Space and Communications Inc., based in New York. The buyers will also assume $172-million of debt.
Telesat is one of a number of assets BCE has sold during the past year as it focuses on its main Bell Canada telephone business.
The takeover paves the way for immediate growth because Loral will transfer the assets of its Skynet unit, including four satellites, to the Telesat joint venture. Consolidation is a quicker path to expansion than the years-long process of setting up new satellites, said Mr. Goldberg, who will stay on as CEO of the new company.
The combination will turn Telesat into the world's fourth-biggest satellite operator. Telesat has seven satellites that cover the North American market.
Loral brings another four that serve faster-growing regions such as Latin America, Europe and Asia. Telesat's plan is to launch another four birds in the next three years.
The new company would have a combined revenue of $658-million as of the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, along with a backlog of orders worth $5.6-billion. It would have earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $341-million for the period. PSP Investments and Loral will fund the purchase of Telesat through debt.
Telesat is the latest target in a wave of consolidation in the global satellite industry in which Mr. Goldberg, 41, has played a key role. New Skies Satellites NV, where he used to be CEO, was first snapped up by private equity firm Blackstone Group in November, 2004. A year later, Luxembourg-based satellite giant SES Global SA agreed to acquire New Skies.
Mr. Goldberg says there is still too much capacity in Latin America and parts of Asia.
But he added that demand is increasing over all because high-definition TV and two-way broadband services are becoming more popular.
“Demand is stronger and our customers are growing in a way they weren't when the telecom bubble burst in early 2000,” he said.
BCE, based in Montreal, lured Mr. Goldberg away from SES Global in September as it pursued a two-track divestment strategy. BCE had announced plans to sell a minority stake in Telesat in February, but also decided to try to sell the unit.
The appointment of the Harvard-trained lawyer, who has 15 years of experience in the satellite industry, proved instrumental in closing a deal, according to BCE chief executive officer Michael Sabia.
“Telesat was a great engineering company,” Mr. Sabia said Monday in a telephone interview. “With Dan's arrival, it got an astute leader, an operator with financial and marketing skills.”
This deal was a year in the making. One of PSP Investments' first private equity moves in 2005 was to invest in a fund run by MHR Fund Management LLC. One of the fund's biggest holdings is Loral, which emerged from creditor protection last year. When BCE put Telesat up for grabs, Loral and PSP Investment knew each other and moved quickly to make a joint bid.
Mr. Sabia indicated the price was higher than he expected. There were multiple rounds of bidding with some deep-pocketed suitors, said PSP Investments chief executive officer Gordon Fyfe.
BCE used the strong interest in Telesat to wring a “highly competitive” long-term contract for satellite signals for its ExpressVu television subsidiary from Loral and PSP Investments, Mr. Sabia said.
Loral ran into trouble in 2003 as demand for satellite capacity slowed and a debt-funded investment in a satellite phone company went sour. Mr. Goldberg doesn't believe Loral is placing too big a bet so soon after restructuring. He said Loral emerged from that process with an “extremely strong” balance sheet, and that Telesat is growing quickly and will pay down debt rapidly in coming years.
Loral and PSP Investments will own a 64-per-cent and 36-per-cent economic stake, respectively, in the new Telesat. However, to comply with foreign ownership restrictions, PSP Investments and other unnamed Canadian investors will control the company through a 66.7-per-cent voting stake. Loral will hold 33.3 per cent of the voting equity.
Rival bidders said PSP Investment and Loral may have overpaid for Telesat, as the company changed hands at a valuation well above that of industry rivals. Telesat fetched 13 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (or EBITDA), while publicly traded satellite companies trade at nine times EBITDA.
PSP Investment's head of private equity, Derek Murphy, said that when Loral's contributions and new revenues from television company clients are factored in, the purchase price is 9.5 times EBITDA, close to industry norms.
“Telesat has a fantastic backlog of confirmed orders, a great engineering culture and best-of-class assets. It's a private equity dream,” Mr. Murphy said. He joined the fund last year after working on his own as a private equity investor, and as an investment banker with J.P. Morgan Chase and Gordon Capital.
KO Telehealth, KO Mental Health, and The Centre for Addictions and Mental Health have provided to students, a First Nations adapted video-conference and on-line computer course titled, “Fundamentals of Mental Health”. Students have participated from the communities of Nibinamik, Bearskin Lake, Muskrat Dam, Keewaywin, Fort Severn, North Spirit Lake, Deer Lake and Poplar Hill. The following modules were covered:
Module 1 – Orientation
Module 2 – Introduction to Physical and Mental Health
Module 3 – Health Promotion
Module 4 – Assessment
Module 5 – Mood Disorders
Module 6 – Anxiety Disorders
Module 7 – Schizophrenia
Module 8 – Course Summary
Students expressed their appreciation for this community-based learning approach and wish to continue with future training opportunities. Instructor Mahreen Hassan said it was a pleasure to teach this class. She expressed her appreciation for the student’s participation, sharing their knowledge, and openness to learning.
Cheryl Klassen closed the student recognition video-conference with these words:
“I want to thank you all for trying a new way of learning. Together we have tried and tested these new learning tools and are developing best practice recommendations. More importantly we have learnt the how’s and why’s in addressing a variety of emotional health concerns. We have stretched our way of thinking and as a result this will enhance the health of our communities.”
See attached ceremony pictures from Bearskin Lake as Linda Day, and Wayne Brown receive their Certificates from Band Councillor, George Chapman.
See an assessment of the report by a Public Advocacy group below ....
OTTAWA, March 22, 2006 -- The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, today received the report prepared by the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel. The report was presented to the Minister and made public by the panel earlier today in Ottawa.
"I am very pleased to receive this report and the recommendations of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel," said Minister Bernier. "This document is the culmination of extensive consultation and research, and I thank the panelists for their tireless work in its development.
"In the coming weeks and months, my department and I will carefully review this thorough report and its recommendations," said Minister Bernier. "The telecommunications sector is of critical importance to Canada's economy and our future well-being. I intend to work, along with my Cabinet colleagues, to ensure that Canada has a policy and regulatory framework that provides Canadians with access to telecommunications services that are, in every sense, world class."
The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel was established on April 11, 2005. Dr. Gerri Sinclair, Hank Intven and André Tremblay were appointed to conduct a review of Canada's telecommunications policy and regulatory framework, and asked to make recommendations to ensure that Canada has a strong, internationally competitive telecommunications industry.
The report is available online at http://www.telecomreview.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of Industry
22 March 2006, Ottawa, ON
Telecom Panel report gets mixed reaction from CIPPIC
A three-person panel appointed by the Minister of Industry released its report today, recommending large-scale deregulation of the telecommunications market. The Panel recommended that regulations be retained only where market forces cannot achieve policy goals within a reasonable time, and where the benefits of such regulation outweigh the costs. It also proposed a number of new initiatives, including a comprehensive federal program to deploy broadband service in all remaining unserved areas of the country, and a new Telecommunications Consumer Agency to resolve consumer complaints against telecom service providers.
Consumer advocates and public interest groups gave the thumbs-up to some recommendations, but expressed serious concerns about others.
"There are a number of good proposals in this report", said Philippa Lawson, Executive Director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa. "We are especially pleased with the recommendation for a statutory right to access publicly available content on the Internet, given the potential for ISPs to limit user access to certain sites for self-interested purposes." TELUS was widely criticized last year for blocking access to a website critical of the company. "However, this recommendation does not go far enough toward ensuring network neutrality, since ISPs could still offer different levels of Internet access depending on ability and willingness to pay. We need additional rules prohibiting 'access-tiering'", she added.
Lawson also praised the Panel's recommendations for a comprehensive federal plan to deploy broadband services in all remaining unserved areas of the country. "This is an area where government support is clearly needed", said Lawson. "And the Panel recognized the importance of close cooperation with the communities themselves, who are best placed to define their access needs. However, we are disappointed with the absence of any recommendation to support ongoing access and training in those communities."
Lawson was highly critical of the Panel's proposals to do away with regulations that currently protect consumers against a variety of unfair practices in the telecom market. "If these proposals are adopted, telecom consumers will be left at the mercy of market forces, with no effective recourse against abusive industry practices such as hidden fees, misleading bills, excessive late payment fees and other after-the-fact charges, and disconnection of basic local phone service for non-payment of toll charges. Consumers would no longer have a right to a refund of charges for unauthorized 900 calls the first time it happens. You can expect to see telephone companies start charging for print directories, and even for printed bills."
"The Panel seems to be completely unaware of the significant role that the CRTC currently plays in holding the industry to basic standards of fair play when it comes to ordinary consumers", said Lawson. "It's not enough to ensure affordable access; consumers need protection from a variety of unfair practices specific to this industry. Other than the CRTC, there is no consumer protection agency with a mandate over the telecom industry", she added.
On the Panel's proposal for a new Telecommunications Consumer Agency, Lawson was circumspect. "This is something that consumer advocates have been calling for, but it's not clear how effective the Panel's proposed agency will be, especially if we do away with the ground-rules for fair play. The proposed agency could be effective in resolving certain individual consumer complaints, but would have no powers to change systemic unfair practices, which are the real threat to consumers", said Lawson. "It's also unclear to me how an agency that is funded by and reports to the industry can have any real clout when it comes to abusive practices that are industry-wide."
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tel: 613-562-5800 x2556 (o)
The K-Net e-mail service is now facing a crisis that requires everyone's help. We need EVERYONE to empty their mail boxes of all these different spam and virus messages. There are now over 500 e-mail accounts that are "over quota". This means each of these accounts have over 50M of storage space being used and are no longer able to be used to send or receive messages unless these messages are either deleted or downloaded to your own computer.
One hint to delete messages is contained in the K-Net Email FAQ web site. I am over my quota but I am not allowed to delete any messages.
Using SHOW ALL and TOGGLE ALL are two mail features that will help speed up the process of doing this housekeeping.
K-Net is now being forced to begin deleting e-mail accounts that are not being used. This means that if you do not use your e-mail account then it will be deleted to help free up storage space. Of course, if your e-mail account is deleted then this will also remove your myknet.org web site, if you have set up a personal homepage on myknet.org ... so, the two messages are ...
USE IT OR LOSE IT and CLEAN UP YOUR MAIL BOX!!
Thanks for your help in making K-Net the best place to be on-line!!
On Thursday August 14th at approximately 15:00 CST a huge power outage in southern Ontario and the North Eastern United States was experienced. K-Net's network equipment in Toronto was affected as it ran out of battery backup power affecting community access for internet and other networking services. Rolling blackouts (electrical wave?) are expected to continue for the next two days. K-Net apologies for the inconveniences.
This K-Net service had its humble beginnings back in 1998 when Dan Pellerin introduced a site for individuals to start creating their own web site. Young people atttending First Nation schools, who were the primary K-Net target audience, quickly learned how to use the available tools to produce simple pages sharing information about themselves.
Today, Jesse Fiddler, K-Net's Multi-media Manager, has taken on the task of maintaining and developing this resource. Additional open source html production tools are being identified and added to the myknet.org toolkit. Many of the individuals producing and maintaining their own sites are using a variety of on-line services to create their own on-line environment that defines who they are.
Do check out myknet.org to see the latest changes to the sites, search for a friend's site or to see the most popular sites and the efforts of others to surpass Angie Morris' visits (early on when the hits countered was introduced, Angie figured out how not to reset the hits counter everytime she updated her page so she had an advance on everyone else).
The UPS for the mail server at mail.knet.on.ca failed during the night of Friday July 20, 2001. The defective UPS has been replaced and normal mail operation has been restored as of 9:49 AM today, Saturday July 21, 2001.
Please be patient with inbound mail as a lot of mail has been queued elsewhere. For the next few hours all backlogged mail will arrive in your inbox. It is quite common for messages to arrive out of sequence, with newer mail arriving prior to older mail. This is normal and to be expected.