Iristel Cracks Competition in Northern Canada with VoIP Offering

Canadian CLEC Iristel and its agents and partners are now offering VoIP services to consumers and businesses in Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Inuvik, Canada. It’s one of the first fruits born from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s decision last year to break the final phone monopoly in North America and set in place regulations allowing competition in Canada’s North.

“Our network is fired up, connected to the south and ready to go for people in Canada’s North who are tired of high monopoly prices for landline phone service,” said Samer Bishay, president and CEO of Iristel. “We’re offering more advanced services at lower prices than the incumbent phone company.”

The new local phone service is being sold through specialized channel partners: in Yellowknife users can buy through ICE Wireless and Global Storm, and in Whitehorse through Midarctic Technology Services and Polar Group ICT. In Inuvik it’s being offered by New North Networks. Wholesale services will be an important part of the picture for the company as well.

“We are a pro-competition company,” Bishay said. “If a reseller wishes to compete against the incumbent and us, that’s fine. We will provide them with the necessary resources at affordable wholesale rates. We do this because we believe competition brings innovation and fairer prices for consumers and business.”

Connecting its VoIP network to the rest of Canada and the world via the Internet was the last piece of the puzzle for Iristel, which has been licensed since 2000 by the CRTC as a CLEC. It’s offerings for the North include other IP telecom services besides VoIP, including virtual faxing that automatically converts paper faxes to digital and delivers them as e-mail, video conferencing, hosted auto attendant, IP trunking and wholesale services.

“We just completed our final tests and our network now reaches the North with cutting-edge technology and advanced 21st century services,” said Maged Bishara, Iristel’s vice president of operations. “This is significant, not only for consumers and businesses in the North but for all of Canada because it is the first step in bridging the digital divide that has separated Canada’s North from the rest of the country.”

Bishay added, “Residential and business customers can cut their local service phone bill in half, keep their existing phone numbers, not have to buy new equipment or change anything in the way they make calls now. It’s simple to change, simple to use and simply more affordable.”

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