All ISPs Get Access to Large ISPs' Fibre

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All ISPs Get Access to Large ISPs' Fibre

Postby jon » Wed May 11, 2016 7:39 am

FP Tech Desk
Ottawa upholds CRTC’s decision to allow small Internet providers access to high-speed networks
Emily Jackson
Financial Post
May 11, 2016 11:21 AM ET

Ottawa rejected Bell Canada’s plea to quash a ruling by Canada’s telecom watchdog that forces big Internet providers to sell smaller competitors wholesale access to their new, expensive fibre networks.

The Government of Canada announced Wednesday it will uphold the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruling that aimed to provide consumers more choice in high-speed Internet providers, a decision Bell argued would stifle investment in the fibre cables that deliver faster service in the first place.

Large incumbents previously had to provide wholesale access to older cables, but the CRTC’s July 2015 decision mandated access to new fibre-to-the-home networks built by players with deep pockets – namely BCE Inc., Telus Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. These companies have spent billions connecting cables directly to homes, and recoup the costs if the homes become customers.

Bell petitioned the decision the day after the federal election ushered in a new Liberal government, stating it could reduce its investment in fibre broadband by $384 million annually in Ontario and Quebec alone. Bell, which has only filed five such petitions in more than two decades, argued CRTC’s decision would most hurt rural communities where there might not be sufficient returns to justify building fibre infrastructure.

But the Liberal government sided with the CRTC, citing the need for “accessible, reliable and affordable high-speed Internet so that middle-class and low-income families can fully participate in the digital economy,” according to a statement by Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains.

“We are committed to increasing higher-speed broadband coverage and supporting competition, choice and availability of services for Canadian consumers and business users,” Bains said.

“Wholesale broadband is a proven regulatory tool for enabling retail competition in the Internet service market.”

Bell will abide by the rules and move forward, spokesman Murray MacDonald said in an email. Bell did not answer questions regarding how the decision will influence its plans to invest in broadband infrastructure or whether it will cut investments as outlined in the petition.
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