Government of Canada Upholds Mandated Wholesale Fibre Broadband Access
May 13, 2016
The Governor in Council (GIC) has denied Bell Canada's petition to vary Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-326, Review of wholesale wireline services and associated policies, and upheld the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) decision, mandating wholesale fibre broadband access. As part of that decision, incumbent telecom and cable providers are required to share their high-speed network infrastructure – including fibre-access facilities – with competitors that provide Internet, television, and telephone services in the retail market.
The Canadian Network Operators Consortium, an association of independent telecommunications service providers, retained Analysis Group to provide an economic review of TRP CRTC 2015-326 and Bell Canada's petition to the GIC as it relates to competition in the broadband market and investment in fibre-to-the-home networks. Analysis Group Senior Economist Markus von Wartburg filed a report concluding that the CRTC policy is technologically neutral and based on sound economic principles embodied in the essential facility test. With the transition to mandated disaggregated wholesale high-speed access service, the policy exposes additional network elements to market forces, and promotes investment in middle-mile facilities by competitors. It thereby encourages facilities-based competition where feasible, and fosters competition through mandated wholesale access where pure facilities-based competition is insufficient or incapable of inducing vigorous retail competition and providing consumers with choice.
In his statement, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development affirmed that “[t]he CRTC's decision to extend wholesale broadband regulation to fibre to the home means the CRTC has updated its regulatory approach to keep pace with changing technology and consumer demand. The decision strikes the right balance between the private sector having incentive to invest and consumers having a competitive choice.”