CRTC allows smaller internet companies to sell service over telecoms' fibre networks

TORONTO — Canada's national telecommunications regulator says it will allow independent competitors to sell internet services over the large telephone companies' fibre networks in Ontario and Quebec.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced the decision Monday at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto amid an ongoing review of third-party access to fibre networks in the hope of boosting competition and lowering prices for customers.

In March, the CRTC announced it would lower some wholesale internet rates by 10 per cent as it launched its review into the rates that smaller competitors pay the major telecom companies for access to their networks. It included an expedited probe of whether big carriers should provide smaller competitors with access to their fibre-to-the-home networks.

The CRTC says its review found there has been a significant competitive decline in Ontario and Quebec, where independent internet providers currently serve 47 per cent fewer customers than two years ago.

The regulator says today's move is meant to stabilize the market in areas where it will make a significant impact on choice and affordability for consumers, in line with Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne's direction earlier this year for the CRTC to enhance consumer rights.

The CRTC says it is also setting interim rates that smaller competitors will pay for access to fibre networks, which will support both competition and continued investment in high-quality networks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2023.

The Canadian Press