Bell Petitions Justin Trudeau to Overrule CRTC Wholesales Rates Decision

Bell Canada’s parent company, BCE Inc., is seeking to overturn the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) wholesale broadband rates decision from earlier this summer, which cut the rates at which smaller internet service providers pay to access the incumbent’s network to resell.

According to BNN Bloomberg, Bell is now petitioning the Prime Minister’s office and his ministers:

BCE’s latest tactic — an approach to the prime minister and his ministers through a petition to the “governor in council” — asks them to overrule the CRTC’s new rates and order a review of its approach to setting wholesale rates.

Major telecoms have cited the retroactive rates decision will hit their books hard, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in payments back to smaller ISPs. In turn, smaller ISPs have already started passing savings onto consumers.

Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) president and CEO Byron Holland reacted to Bell’s decision, telling iPhone in Canada, “We’re disappointed to see that Canada’s big internet service providers are once again appealing the CRTC’s decision,” adding, “We encourage decision-makers at all levels of government to stay the course and help promote greater connectivity in Canada’s internet market.”

Back in September, major telecoms in Canada including the likes of Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Videotron, challenged the CRTC decision at the Federal Court of Appeal, winning a temporary stay in court.

Update: non-profit and consumer advocate OpenMedia issued the following statement:

“This is just ridiculous. First Big Telecom threw a temper tantrum, threatening to punish rural residents with bad Internet. Then they appealed to the federal court. Now they’re using an obscure rarely used appeal procedure to ask cabinet for a ‘do over’? The whole thing reeks of desperation,” said OpenMedia Executive Director Laura Tribe.

Tribe continued, “Big Telecom’s already tried this play before, right after the last election – and the government rightly rejected it, recognizing it for what it was: a desperate move with no standing. Since then, the government has issued a new policy direction for the CRTC focusing on customers and affordability, and even more recently made promises during the election to bring more affordable Internet services to Canadians. Big Telecom’s move today completely ignores the way the winds are blowing. The time for affordable Internet in Canada is coming, and they need to get on board, or get out of the way.”

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