By Paul Vieira
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued an order to Canada's major phone companies to open up their fiber-optic internet services to small independent broadband providers. This move aims to enhance access to high-speed internet for households and promote competition within the telecommunications sector.
Concerns over declining competition in internet services prompted this decision, as wholesale-based providers were losing market share to larger telecoms. The CRTC highlighted that significant internet service providers had been acquiring smaller competitors, resulting in fewer options for Canadians seeking high-speed internet services.
Starting in May next year, on a temporary basis, the CRTC will require BCE and Telus, the two largest telephone companies in Canada, to offer wholesale access to their fiber-optic networks. This ruling will initially be limited to Ontario and Quebec, which together account for about 60% of the country's population.
Higher-Speed Internet Service: Regulator Intervenes to Address Wholesale Competitor Challenges
In a recent decision, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) acknowledged the growing demand for higher-speed internet service. However, it noted that wholesale-based competitors are falling behind incumbent companies in this market segment. One of the main obstacles faced by independent service providers is the lack of a "practical" way to access the telephone companies' fiber-optic internet.
To address these challenges, the regulatory body has introduced a temporary and expedited solution. The CRTC expects that this intervention will enable wholesale-based competitors to offer fiber-broadband services to approximately five million households. As part of the decision, rate schedules have been established, ensuring that BCE and Telus comply with the set guidelines.
The representatives for BCE and Telus were not immediately available for comment.
This regulatory action aligns with Canada's Liberal government's commitment to strengthening competition rules. The aim is to ensure that consumers have access to products and services at lower prices. However, the governing Liberals have been trailing their rival Conservatives by a significant margin in public-opinion polls. Analysts attribute this, in part, to their failure to address voters' concerns regarding cost-of-living issues.