Big operators take a hit as CRTC cuts wholesale broadband rates

19 Aug 2019

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ordered the country’s large telcos and cablecos to reduce tariffs for wholesale broadband network services charged to smaller ISPs, in a move which it says will ‘facilitate greater competition and promote innovative broadband services and more affordable prices for consumers.’ Bell Canada, Bell MTS, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus and Videotron must issue revised tariffs within 30 days to comply with the order.

Specifically, the CRTC has cut tariffs for ‘aggregated’ wholesale high speed services, consisting of two elements: ‘access’ and ‘capacity’. Interim rates introduced in Q4 2016 have been scrapped, with the final capacity rates 15% to 43% lower than the interim charges and access rates 3% to 77% lower than the interim fees. Furthermore, the final rates are to be applied retroactive to the date the interim rates were set in 4Q16.

Note that transition to a new mandated wholesale broadband regime (‘disaggregated high speed access’) is underway, although the CRTC notes that its decision on final rates, terms and conditions for disaggregated high speed access in the first zones of implementation – Ontario and Quebec – is still ‘forthcoming’.