Michael Sabia, CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, spoke to the Vancouver Board of Trade one day after the company announced its IP agreement with Nortel. An edited version of his remarks appear here. The full speech can be found here. When it comes to innovation we don’t follow. We lead: the first commercial cellular service in North America; one of the first countries in the world to have residential high-speed Internet access; the first wireless Internet browser in North America. In a North American first, Canada developed - not copied - developed a technology known as Optical Ethernet offering business a competitive leg up, increasing their performance and reducing their costs. And what about investment? Are we keeping pace? No, we don’t just keep pace. We set the pace. Canadian investment is ahead of countries like the U.S., Germany and Japan. Lower prices. Choice and access. Innovation and continued investment. All these things set Canada apart. And why is that important? Because some think our industry doesn’t pack the economic punch it did a few years ago. They’re wrong. The information, communications and technology sector - known as ICT - continues to be a fundamental driver of our economy. Obviously, there was over-investment during the boom of a few years ago. But the capital is now in place, and it’s getting used. Obviously, there was too much promised, too soon. But the technological capabilities of ICT are still barrelling ahead at an exponential rate. They’re just out of the headlines. Estimates suggest 70 per cent of the pick-up in productivity in recent years was due to the production and growing use of ICT throughout the economy. Technology is erasing the lines between once distinct segments of the industry. Distinctions between telephone companies and cable companies will disappear. With voice-over-the-Internet, cable companies will offer telephone service. Long distance will become cheaper and cheaper. Giants like Microsoft and Systems Integrators like IBM and EDS are offering communications as part of their "one-stop" service. For regulators it’s a challenge to manage, and manage wisely. The stakes here for Canada are immense. Get it right. We’ll continue to lead. Get it wrong. We won’t. It’s as simple as that. For Bell, this upheaval in our industry is a call to action. A call to change. And we are answering that call. Answering with change that is shaking Bell Canada to its very core. We are driven by change. Driven to expand our horizons. Driven to stay on top of technology. Driven ever closer to our customers. I am determined that Bell will ride the crest of this wave of change. We will not, will not be caught in its undertow. From our past, we’ll retain our brand strength, our reputation for trust, quality and reliability. But we’ll replace bureaucracy with simplicity. Replace a dogged reliance on our legacy with a renewed sense of energy. Everyday, a commitment by every employee to make a difference. To innovate. Simplicity and innovation. Two words that define us. Simplicity for customers, for employees. Innovation that gives our customers leading-edge capabilities, delivers greater efficiency and productivity to them. Let me give you an example. Yesterday, we put a stake in the ground. A stake committing Bell to IP leadership in Canada. We’re rolling out Nortel Network’s IP technology across Canada. And, we’re partnering with Nortel - sound familiar? - to push development in IP services. How? We’re opening IP development centres across the country to develop new IP applications and services. Today, separate networks run different types of communications traffic. In the IP world, everything runs over a single infrastructure. An infrastructure that enables service such as: Instant video calling-a video conference call as simple as dialing a telephone number Hot Desking - your office follows you. Your office is not a place where you go; it’s where you are. The use of IP for transmission is commonplace. The IP products we are developing are not. IP technology creates a world of simplicity, convenience and productivity. Our commitment is clear. We will become the master of these tools for our customers. And for ourselves. And where will these services be tested and introduced first. Here in Vancouver. Our networks here are among the most advanced in Canada. We have expanded our operations to Alberta and BCE, and right across Canada. It’s the cornerstone of our business model. To be a national communications company. Fully equipped to deliver seamless national services to customers who require them.