Edward Rogers: Why innovation and investment matter for Rogers and for Canada

Building our digital future means thinking in decades, not quarters

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When Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. merged one year ago, it wasn’t just the largest deal in Canadian telecom history, it was the coming together of two proud companies, founded by two great Canadian entrepreneurs.

Ted Rogers and JR Shaw were true pioneers of Canadian business, shaping Canada’s communications and media landscape into what it is today. Both started out small, Ted with one radio station in Toronto and JR with one cable licence in Edmonton. They took big risks and made big bets to connect Canadians.

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Over many decades, they took on the incumbent telephone companies, growing into powerhouses through investment, innovation and hard work. They shared a relentless drive to innovate for Canadians and the combined company is committed to keeping this legacy of investment and innovation alive.

Last year, Rogers invested a record $3.9 billion in capital infrastructure, the largest investment in the company’s history. In Western Canada, the company brought 5G services to new areas spanning 20,000 square kilometres and expanded our cable network to reach 90,000 more homes. This investment also supported ongoing work to put in place separate wireless and wireline IP cores to become the first carrier in Canada to have a dual core throughout the country.

Rogers chairman Edward Rogers.
Rogers chairman Edward Rogers. Photo by Supplies/Rogers Communications Inc.

In British Columbia, Rogers invested in global wildfire detection and prevention technology. In Toronto, the company built a 5G network in the subway system. In Newfoundland, it made Canada’s first satellite-to-mobile phone call, to help bring coverage to the most remote areas of Canada’s massive land mass. We made meaningful strides to connect rural and remote parts of the country with 5G, including critical stretches along B.C.’s Highway of Tears.

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We know networks play an integral role in the lives of Canadians, businesses and communities. They are the backbone of our economy and the lifeblood of our digital lives. They require constant investment. That’s a given. Identifying the right areas to innovate isn’t as obvious.

Like cable television back in the day, we are getting set for the disruption of our 10G internet road map in Canada. It’s one of the next big innovations. The next big bet.

This next generation of cable technology was developed with Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs), a world-leader in R&D. For over 30 years, this non-profit tech hub has brought together global leaders like Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. to develop scalable network standards and technology. This work includes over 600 patents that help deliver faster speeds and more reliability, and address consumers’ changing expectations.

Today, Canadians expect an “always on” experience — whether you’re in the home, at work, or on the go. Our 10G network will help get us there with its enhanced reliability, ultralow latency and multi-gigabit speeds up to 10 times faster than today.

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That’s why Rogers reinvests 90 per cent of our profits back into Canada every year. Investments in technology and in infrastructure, and in Canadian content and sports. Our investments in Canadian content and sports in the last decade reached $18.9 billion.

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Building Canada’s digital future requires a long-term focus and a long-term view. At Rogers, we think in decades, not quarters. We’re relentlessly focused on what’s next and bringing it to Canadians.

That’s been our hallmark for the last 65 years and it will be our hallmark for the next 65.

Edward Rogers is the chairman of Rogers Communications Inc.

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