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Banning Huawei from building new 5G wireless network won’t really hurt Canada’s big telecom firms

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If the federal government moves to ban Huawei from working to build Canada’s new 5G network, it is unlikely to have a major financial impact on two of the country’s top communications companies who have partnered with the China-based firm, analysts say.

Huawei’s equipment is already used in telecommunications infrastructure run by Canada’s major cellphone carriers, namely BCE and Telus. Those two companies are currently in 5G pretrial stages with Huawei, a company some western intelligence officials consider a security risk due to its links with China’s government. 

As the next-generation wireless technology, 5G promises to deliver much faster internet download speeds — possibly up to 200 times faster than today’s LTE networks.

Desmond Lau, a telecommunications analyst with investment research firm Veritas, said BCE and Telus have not put a lot of capital into 5G trials, so the financial hit from a ban on Huawei’s participation wouldn’t be large.    

“It doesn’t sound like all that much has been spent on 5G,” Lau said, adding that neither company has disclosed what they have spent so far. 

“They also have Nokia as another 5G partner, so they could probably just switch all toward Nokia if they really needed to.”

BCE and Telus did not respond to inquiries from CBC News about their relationship with Huawei on building Canada’s 5G network. 

The Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper, has reported that Ottawa could announce a formal ban on Huawei building the 5G network within weeks. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has called those reports “speculation.”

‘Not arrived at a conclusion’

“The issues are being very carefully considered by Canadians. We have not arrived at a conclusion,” Goodale told CBC Radio’s The House.

According to a Scotiabank telecommunications report, both BCE and Telus use radio access networks (RANs), equipment located at the top and bottom of cell sites, produced by Huawei. 

“To our knowledge, Huawei does not supply the network core, which is software based and considered to be the most sensitive part of the network from a privacy and security perspective,” the report states.

For years, Huawei has been a source of concern for Western security officials, particularly the U.S., which has tried to convince other countries not to buy equipment from the company.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale calls reports that Ottawa will ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G network ‘speculation.’ (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Huawei denies allegations that it conducts espionage on behalf of China and has said it’s a market-driven business simply looking to compete internationally.

“Huawei has been working with Canadian operators on a number of pre-commercial trials in the lead up to 5G,” said Scott Bradley, a spokesman for Huawei Canada. “These efforts will ensure Canada is well positioned to be one of the early leaders in 5G globally, and will benefit Canadians in applications as diverse as greatly improving rural service, to spurring new innovations requiring increased speeds and capacity.”

This next generation technology will also open up what analysts refer to as the “internet of things,” which would allow everyday devices and machines be connected to a wireless network.

‘Ground-breaking trials’

 “These ground-breaking trials are laying the foundation for 5G, which will enable the likes of driverless cars; smart cities; new innovations in healthcare; as well as yet-to-be-imagined applications, devices and services powered by astonishingly fast and reliable wireless connections,” Telus said in a news release.

But with 5G, one of the concerns is that the network would be more vulnerable to attack. If Huawei has some kind of relationship with the Chinese government, the fear is that the company could install a “backdoor” in the 5G network, possibly allowing access to the network, and creating the potential for widespread disruption.

New Zealand and Australia have banned Huawei from working on their 5G networks. And British phone carrier BT said it would not use their equipment for its planned 5G mobile network. The U.K. company is removing Huawei equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile phone networks.

If a similar move to rip out and replace existing Huawei infrastructure were to happen in Canada, it “would obviously be very costly,” according to the Scotiabank report.

Replacing Huawei products in Canada’s existing 3G and 4G mobile networks could cost more than $1.2 billion, Scotiabank’s report said. 

“If logic prevails, even if a ban was to occur, we think it would be on 5G only,” said the report. “We believe this will be more manageable” as there is “limited 5G equipment at the cell sites today.”

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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