Rogers to Bell: No Room for CRTC in Subway Wireless Showdown

Rogers has countered Bell’s call for regulatory intervention by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in the ongoing disagreement over access to the former’s wireless network in Toronto’s subway system.

This dispute was triggered when Rogers announced in April its acquisition of BAI Canada, which held the exclusive rights to the wireless infrastructure inside the subway managed by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The announcement caused a protracted argument between Rogers and its main competitors, Bell and Telus.

Responding to an application made by Bell to the CRTC last month, Rogers maintains that the access to the subway’s infrastructure is essentially a commercial issue among the involved companies, and hence, outside of the CRTC’s purview.

Bell has sought several urgent orders from the CRTC, including one that prevents Rogers from adding its own customers to the network until it can ensure equal access to all wireless carriers. Bell’s stance is that Rogers is seeking an unfair business advantage by delaying network access for non-Rogers customers.

Rogers, in turn, refutes these claims, according to The Globe and Mail.

“Commission intervention in the manner proposed by Bell in what are ordinary course contractual and technical discussions among sophisticated parties is inappropriate, unprecedented, and simply unnecessary in the present circumstances,” said the submission from Rogers senior vice-president of regulatory affairs, Dean Shaikh.

Furthermore, Rogers insists it is ready to onboard other providers and has proposed a negotiation framework to Bell, Telus, and Quebecor, inviting them to commence formal negotiations.

The proposed model by Rogers suggests arbitration with Bell, Telus, and Quebecor, should it fail to reach commercial agreements with at least one of these carriers by August 15. Under this model, the other three carriers would pay fees to use the TTC infrastructure.

In stark contrast, Bell and Telus advocate for a joint-build model where all providers would hold a stake in the network, arguing this model would enhance network reliability and alleviate congestion. So far, only Freedom Mobile has signed on to the BAI Canada network, now owned by Rogers.

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