The CRTC stepped in Monday to force the telecom giants to open up their fiber-optic network to resellers, in a bid to bring more competition and ultimately lower prices in Quebec and Ontario.
For the past twenty years, large cable companies have had to sell wholesale services to smaller companies, which can, in turn, sell cable Internet services to their customers. However, fiber optic services are currently exempt from this rule.
Pending the conclusion of a public consultation on the issue that will continue into 2024, the Canadian Telecommunications and Radio-television Commission (CRTC) on Monday ordered giants Bell Canada and Telus Communication to temporarily open their fiber optic network (FTTP) to smaller players in six months in Quebec and Ontario. Other companies, such as Cogeco or Videotron, are not affected by this order at the moment.
The choice of these two provinces is not trivial. “At the end of 2022, independent competitors based on wholesale services served 47% fewer subscribers in Ontario and Quebec than two years earlier,” noted the CRTC, which is concerned about this rapid decline in competition.
“Today’s initial decision will bring new Internet options to more than five million homes,” CRTC President and CEO Vicky Eatrides said in a press release.
This decision follows a decree adopted by the Trudeau government earlier this year to ask the CRTC to find ways to “promote competition, accessibility, consumer interests and innovation.”