Canadian regulator says big players must share fibre networks

23 July 2015 |


Canada’s telecoms regulator, the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has decided that the country’s largest operators must open up their last mile fibre-optic connections to smaller competitors.

Presently, smaller rivals are only granted access to the older infrastructure of large telecoms players, but the new ruling means that they will now be able to take advantage of their fibre-optic cables.

“This measure will ensure that Canadians have more choice for high-speed internet services and are able to fully leverage the benefits of the broadband home or business,” CRTC said in a statement.

BCE Bell Canada, Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications are among the larger players in the country, and control approximately 90% of the home internet market.

Market watchers have raised concerns that the ruling is a disincentive for these bigger providers to invest in laying new fibre-optic cables.

However, the CRTC has said that it will allow the larger players to charge fees for sharing their cables in order to make a profit on their investments, and also has initiatives in place designed to encourage smaller players to invest in their own infrastructure

“With this ruling they’ve said that competition is important, that we can’t afford to duplicate everything in Canada, and they are making sure that Canadians get access to competitive rates and are not locked in,” said Robin Winsor, CEO of Cybera, a firm focussed on the development of cyber infrastructure in Alberta, Canada.

The ruling is likely to come into effect in late 2016, starting in Ontario and Quebec.