CRTC Stands Firm on Deadline, Rejects Big Telecom Extension Request

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has recently received a request from Bell Canada to extend the filing deadlines for tariff filings and cost studies in the Notice of Hearing – Review of the Wholesale High Speed Access Framework.

Bell Canada asked for an extension from April 24, 2023, to June 6, 2023, for submitting proposed tariffs and supporting cost studies for fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) facilities over aggregated wholesale High Speed Access (HSA) services. They also requested an extension from June 22, 2023, to August 8, 2023, for filing updated tariffs and supporting cost studies for existing aggregated wholesale HSA services.

The telecom argued that the six-week timeframe for completing a Phase II cost study for FTTP facilities over aggregated wholesale HSA services is not feasible, and that the expedited process outlined in the Telecom Notice of Consultation 2023-56 is significantly out of step with previous proceedings.

Several other incumbent carriers, including Bragg Communications Inc, Cogeco Communications, Rogers Communications Canada Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications, Shaw Cablesystems G.P., and Telus, supported the need for deadline extensions, while others, like Québecor Média and Teksavvy Solutions Inc., disagreed.

In response to these requests, the CRTC maintained that the existing filing dates set out in the original notice are appropriate, despite being shorter than those in previous proceedings.

The CRTC referred to a Policy Direction that emphasizes conducting proceedings in a timely manner and providing adequate options for fixed Internet competition. Furthermore, it noted that one carrier subject to providing wholesale HSA services believes it can meet the existing deadlines, despite being smaller in scale and having a more limited history with FTTP facilities.

The Commission stated that other issues raised by parties, such as those identified by Shaw and Teksavvy, will be addressed separately at a later time, but for now, parties are to proceed with existing directions.

The decision by the CRTC to remain firm in its deadline and not succumb to big telecom requests may be a sign of more consumer-driven decisions, now that there’s a new CEO of the CRTC.

[via @peternowak]