CRTC Mandates Wholesale High Speed Access for Small ISPs in Ontario, Quebec

Ahead of a planned rollout across the rest of the country, the CRTC has ordered Canada’s big telecom companies to give smaller internet providers in in Quebec and Ontario, access to their wholesale high-speed services over fibre-optic networks, CBC News is reporting. “We want Canadians to have more choice for innovative internet services at competitive prices”, said the telecommunications regulator.


The CRTC will now proceed with a plan first announced in 2015 to let smaller ISPs piggyback on high-speed networks that larger companies have built out. The plan means that smaller ISPs will now be able to pay for access to the incumbents’ disaggregated high-speed fibre-optic networks, and then resell that service to consumers.

“Large incumbent companies will now have to make their fibre facilities available to their competitors”, said the regulator. Although it is still deciding on the rates that smaller companies will be allowed to purchase the access for.

“As of today, providers in Ontario and Quebec will have access to services based on a new architecture that will enable greater competition,” the regulator said.

Technology analyst Daniel Bader of Mobile Nations said that Tuesday’s announcement is the CRTC’s way of saying “they think that Quebec and Ontario are much more in need” of more competition. “The CRTC is looking to make the biggest impact on two most populous provinces,” Bader said in a telephone interview.

“The CRTC needs to be mindful of the impacts of the rates it sets on investment in next generation broadband facilities,” BCE Inc.’s communications director Marc Choma said.

For now, small ISPs can buy high-speed access from big telecom companies at the current nterim rates to stimulate competition.