Opening of its fiber optic network: Bell wants to avoid losing millions

Bell Canada has filed a legal challenge to try to avoid having to open up its fiber-optic network to small independent companies, as ordered by the CRTC last week to spur competition on Internet prices in Quebec and Ontario.

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In a filing Thursday with the Federal Court of Appeals, the company alleges that opening up its fiber-optic network to competition would cost it $30 million in training and equipment, including $14 million that they would be irreparably lost.

Bell Canada would also lose a competitive advantage over its rivals, it argues in court documents, according to a report by the Globe and Mail.

The telecommunications giant sees it as unfair to have to open up its fiber optic network after investing about $4 billion a year over the past decade to develop it.

In early November, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ordered Bell Media and Telus Communications to open their fiber-optic networks to independent ISPs in Ontario and Quebec within six months . Other cable companies, against Cogeco or Videotron, are not affected by this temporary order, taken pending a public consultation to examine this issue.

On the same day as the CRTC’s announcement, Bell Canada announced that it will reduce spending on its fiber optic network by $1 billion in 2024 and 2025.

The CRTC made this decision after finding that the number of subscribers from independent companies fell by 47% in two years. Remember that in Canada, large companies are required to open up their cable Internet network to independent resellers, but fiber optic is currently exempt from regulation.

The CRTC has not ruled on the matter as it is now before the courts.