Q&A: Michelle Bourque and André Beaulieu, BCE Nexxia

Q&A: Michelle Bourque and André Beaulieu, BCE Nexxia

Capacity catches up with André Beaulieu, president of BCE Nexxia, a Bell Canada company, and Michelle Bourque, SVP of product, marketing and access strategy, to talk about the company’s activity in Canada’s diverse telecoms market over the last year

What have been your top three achievements over the last year?

ANDRÉ: From a global perspective, we have achieved greater penetration of our global accounts – the global carriers that we provide networks services to in Canada. 

Secondly, we have made a series of product launches in data and voice as well as being the first in Canada to launch 100G services. We have also launched a set of wholesale dedicated data centres. These products and services have been tailored for the wholesale market and are responding to the demand of global carriers when they come to Canada. 

The third achievement is our healthy internet business that is growing across Canada. BCE in general, on both the retail and wholesale side, is focussed on improving its infrastructure. We are able to compete with the fibre that we’ve deployed across Canada, and that’s helped the wholesale business to do well on the back of our retail investments. 

MICHELLE: We have also shaped how we evolve our wholesale business to focus on some of the new growth areas of the market, like the OTTs and the Web 2.0 companies. We are evolving the way we operate to be able to support those kinds of companies which behave and operate differently to incumbent carriers. 


You recently launched a PoP in Ashburn, Virginia, Why that location?

MICHELLE: We launched that because we already have existing PoP infrastructure and fibre networks down through Seattle, Chicago and New York. Heading further down into Ashburn, Virginia allowed us to reach out to a number of customer segments that weren’t served out of those markets, or who wanted to stay outside of Manhattan. 

We now serve that market directly, so the launch was about us being able to establish and expand that reach. We always look to where we can see incremental PoPs and a lot of it is demand-based. Our planning horizon looks to where we have demand and requirements from our customers. 


What challenges have you experienced over the last 12 months?

MICHELLE: We have a lot of regulation in our environment, and as we continue to transition away from more deregulation, our organisation has to evolve and shape itself differently to be able to support the market.

ANDRÉ: The long-term underlying trend is deregulation and forbearance – that’s the word they use around here. But there are a lot of unpredictable fluctuations, things we believe are inconsistent between the decisions of the regulators, and things that are not necessarily applied in the same way in different parts of the country. This makes it difficult for us to plan and react. 

It is less a challenger on reregulation, and more a challenger on the inconsistency and unpredictability of decisions, affecting not just us but all players in the industry in Canada. At one point or another, all of the major telecoms companies have had to reckon with this. 

It will get better over time, we assume, but it’s completely out of our hands. It’s like London weather – there may be a sunny day next week but you’re never sure.


What is the best thing about operating in the Canadian marketplace?

ANDRÉ: It is a very innovative environment on the industry side, and the deregulation has prompted a lot of new investment for companies to get started. It makes the whole environment more dynamic. You see people going to market differently and being very creative in terms of their service offering. 

Canada is also in high demand as a place for investment, whether it’s Chinese, German, Australian or American. There is consequently a long tail of technology and connectivity needs and our international partners are following their own customers into Canada. 

MICHELLE: Canada is also a very diverse country in terms of people from all over the world that live and work here. As our needs and as our demands increase in terms of supporting different companies worldwide, it is an interesting and fun place to work in. 

There is also a lot of investment in universities and education in the sciences and technology fields. A lot of people are coming up through the education system with different ideas, perspectives and approaches to solving business problems and it makes it fun. A lot of people on our team come from very diverse backgrounds – many of them are very young – and they teach us a lot and that allows us to grow. 

Canada has a great nurturing ground for that and BCE and Bell spend a lot of time investing in and bringing in new talent and looking at development programmes to bring in MBA graduates. The shift of leadership and how it is evolving is a big focus.

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