Rural Telephone Service

Res #: 19-07A
Number: 19
Year: 2007
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskTel

Resolution No. 19-07A
Rural Telephone Service

WHEREAS, years ago, SaskTel took over the rural telephone exchanges, including their assets and bank accounts, with an agreement to supply the same service at the same cost as they supplied the cities of Regina and Saskatoon;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SaskTel be urged to keep their part of the agreement and provide rural residents with the same service as city residents and at the same costs.

Response from Honourable Deb Higgins, Minister Responsible for SaskTel: 

Initially, let me say that we must question the underlying premise of the resolution you have provided us.  To our knowledge, there were never any agreements among the previous rural telephone companies and SaskTel to provide rural residents with the same service as city residents and at the same rates.  In fact, our review of SaskTel records indicates that historically rural basic telephone rates were less than urban rates for many years after assimilation of most rural telephone companies occurred.  

Having said that, providing affordable telecommunications services in rural Saskatchewan is one of SaskTel’s key objectives.  For the most part, SaskTel’s rural residential and business rates are comparable to those across the country and in many cases are among the lowest in Canada.  This despite the fact that SaskTel delivers phone service to one of the most widely dispersed populations in Canada 

In addition, SaskTel maintains identical rates in both urban and rural areas for many of our services, including our SmartTouch calling features, Message Manager, TalkMail, Directory Services, Message Relay Services, as well as long distance plans and cellular services. 

SaskTel continues to strive to provide comparable rates in rural and urban areas, but it is not always possible to do so. Where there is differential pricing for certain services, it is important to note that these are attributable to economic, competitive or regulatory situations outside of its control – just as certain services are sometimes cheaper in rural Saskatchewan than in the cities. 

Unstinting service to customers in rural and urban areas, steady delivery of the world’s most advanced communications technologies, and a day to day presence supporting programs and events that enrich communities across the province – these are the qualities that SaskTel has exhibited throughout its history. SaskTel has achieved much by applying our own yardsticks in an industry that has been known to abandon the small, the local and the marginal in favour of the large, the global and the central. For your information, I have attached a brief list of the unparalleled contributions SaskTel has made to the Province of Saskatchewan, many of them provided to the benefit of rural residents.                                                                                                                      

SaskTel strives to provide the best possible value and service to all of its customers.   

In this regard, I would note that for the third consecutive year (2004-2006), the Government of Saskatchewan has kept its commitment to provide Saskatchewan families with the lowest-cost bundle of basic utility rates in Canada which includes local telecom service rates for rural and urban residents.