Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


Telus Corporation is an Alberta–British Columbia telecommunication firm created by the 1999 merger of two province-based companies. It is the second largest telecommunication organization in Canada and one of the largest business operations in Canada headquartered in the West.

Telus's emergence reflects the changing goals of western provincial enterprises and governments and the influence of federal regulations. Until privatized and renamed Telus in 1990, the former Alberta Government Telephones operated from 1908 to 1990 as a provincial crown enterprise regulated and sheltered under a provincial public utilities board. Operating from 1904 to 1999, bc Telephone, renamed bc Telecom in 1992 and a wholly owned subsidiary since 1926 of American utility gte, was confined to provincial activity under the federal regulation that oversaw private-sector utilities.

In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that federal regulation of telecommunication included provincial crown-owned enterprises, and in 1992 the federal regulator, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission, began allowing interprovincial telecommunication competition. The merger between Edmonton-based Telus and Vancouver-based BC Telecom has enabled Telus to compete nationally with other telecommunication and cable providers for the total market of data, Internet, voice, and wireless communication. Current federal regulation of telecommunication stipulates that rates and ownership structures are controlled but not competition for markets. Telus shares are one-fifth held by Verizon, the successor to gte and Bell Atlantic. Telus has made major acquisitions in Canada and abroad in order to compete throughout Canada, in the United States, and elsewhere.

Barry Ferguson University of Manitoba

Babe, Robert. Telecommunication in Canada: Technology, Industry and Government. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990.

Lens, Jean-Guy. The Invisible Empire: A History of the Telecommunication Industry in Canada 1846– 1956. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001.

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