Bell Denied Fast-Track Access to Rogers TTC Network

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has declined Bell’s request to accelerate a decision about access to Toronto’s subway wireless network, currently owned by Rogers. The CRTC stated that Bell must abide by the standard 40-day procedure.

Rogers has held the rights to develop wireless service in the Toronto Transit Commission subway system since April, after purchasing BAI Canada, which had an exclusive agreement with the TTC. Bell and Telus have advocated for a cooperative model where all major players would jointly construct the network. This idea has been rejected.

On June 15, Bell filed an application urging the CRTC to intervene. Bell claimed that Rogers was seeking a commercial edge by delaying access for non-Rogers users for “as long as possible.” Due to the “urgency” of the situation, Bell requested the CRTC to hasten its application process and provide a ruling by July 1.

However, Rogers has promised to grant access to all users via “good-faith commercial negotiations,” with the option for arbitration should the telecom companies fail to reach agreements. In response to Bell’s application on June 19, Rogers asserted that there was no credible reason to deviate from the typical procedure.

The CRTC has since agreed with Rogers. In a June 23 letter posted on its website, the CRTC stated it would not expedite the process as it would unfairly limit the capacity for others to participate in the consultation process, reports The Globe and Mail.

Leila Wright, the CRTC’s telecom sector director, explained in the letter, “The public interest would best be served by maintaining the standard time frames of 30 days for parties to submit interventions and 10 days for Bell to submit reply comments.”

Bell’s application now enters a typical 40-day consultation phase before being considered by the CRTC, a process that can span several months.

“Concerning the issues raised in the Part 1 application, Bell and Rogers, and indeed all other stakeholders involved in the deployment of wireless facilities in the TTC, are strongly urged to work together to resolve what mainly appear to be contractual and technical matters, as they have done in the past with similar projects, to avoid the need for unnecessary regulatory intervention by the Commission,” wrote Wright.

Bell is seeking CRTC’s approval to install its own equipment and is requesting Rogers be prevented from adding its own customers onto the network—until other providers have the same opportunity.

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