CRTC forces large operators to match retail-wholesale speeds, but allows 10% mark-up on premium services

31 Aug 2010

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a ruling forcing large telecoms network operators to make their broadband internet access services available to alternative ISPs at speeds matching those offered to their own retail customers. The decision applies to wireline providers such as Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Telus as well as large cablecos including Rogers, Shaw, Videotron and Cogeco. Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the CRTC, said: ‘The large telephone and cable companies are bringing their fibre networks closer to Canadian homes and businesses, which allows for faster internet connections. Requiring these companies to provide access to their networks will lead to more opportunities for competition in retail internet services and better serve consumers.’ In recognition of the infrastructure providers’ investments in their networks, the regulator announced that in return it will allow them to charge competitors an additional 10% mark-up over their costs for the use of their wholesale internet services’ higher-speed options, which includes services based on direct fibre connections (FTTH/FTTB), VDSL and fibre-to-the-node. The CRTC’s decision reinstates a speed-matching policy that had been withdrawn in 2007 at the request of the incumbent operators; telcos had delayed its reintroduction by appealing a regulator order issued in March 2009.