TekSavvy, Distributel among group requesting CRTC review wholesale broadband rules

The Canadian Network Operators Consortium wants improved regulation around wholesale broadband access

A consortium comprised of 35 Canadian telecommunications service providers has filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requesting the Commission review two separate 2015 and 2016 wholesale broadband decisions.

The CRTC’s 2015 decision notably revised existing wholesale broadband access rules that were established in 2008, established wholesale access to fibre-to-the-premise (FFTP) facilities, while also capping wholesale speeds to 100Mbps for any wholesale player that doesn’t implement disaggregated services.

The 2016 decision was mostly a follow-up to the CRTC’s 2015 ruling, and established additional rules surrounding the wholesale broadband access regime.

According to a November 7th, 2018 media release, the Canadian Network Operators Consortium (CNOC) — comprised of smaller telecom players including TekSavvy, Distributel and Primus — is now calling on the CRTC to “repair the regulatory environment, which directly affects how many Canadians have access to affordable high-speed Internet at the increasingly high speeds they are demanding.”

“We need to fix the system that is allowing large telephone and cable companies to increase costs, reduce competition and eliminate consumer choice,” said Matt Stein, president and chairman of CNOC and CEO of Distributel, in a November 7th media release.

“Canadians deserve competitive choice, regardless of what wire connects to their home, or the speed of Internet they want.”

As CNOC sees it, the Commission’s 2015 wholesale decision allows incumbent service providers to make it harder to access their networks, while also restricting smaller service providers from providing faster internet speeds.

CNOC’s filing also expands on the Consortium’s concerns regarding the lack of fibre internet access currently provided to wholesale players.

The Consortium further expressed concerns about the 100Mbps cap potentially forcing wholesale players “migrate to a new disaggregated wholesale service configuration.”

“As a consequence, the speed cap on aggregated HSA services will immediately, and in many cases indefinitely, prevent the continuance of competition in retail markets for Internet services at speeds greater than 100Mbps,” reads an excerpt from the Consortium’s November 7th filing.

In a separate November 7th, 2018 media release, TekSavvy vice president of privacy and consumer legal affairs Janet Lo said that large, incumbent service providers are “gaming the system to block consumer choice.”

“The large carriers overbilled wholesale customers like TekSavvy for years,” said Lo.

“Now, consumers are without choice while the large carriers benefit off their new fibre broadband monopoly.”

According to CNOC’s filing, the Consortium is requesting that the CRTC remove the 100Mbps cap; establishing “significantly reduced level of disaggregation on the Bell Canada…network, and possibly those of Cogeco, Rogers and Videotron”; and making it possible for wholesale players to access incumbent fibre networks.

MobileSyrup has reached out to Bell for comment. This story will be updated with a response.

Source: Canadian Network Operators Consortium, TekSavvy

Update 07/11/2018 3:52pm ET: A Rogers spokesperson responded to MobileSyrup‘s request for comment via email.

“As market leaders with Ignite Internet, we are constantly investing our in broadband network to meet the needs of our customers and enhance the customer experience, and this investment is vital as demand for more bandwidth continues to grow. To encourage greater consumer choice through investment, the 2015 CRTC decision reflects a modernized framework, where ISPs will have more access to the highest level technology, including Fiber to the Home, and in exchange ISPs are being asked to invest in modest facilities to provide a small portion of their service.”