Telus Urges EV Owners to Sway CRTC Wholesale Fibre Rates

Telus has been proactively contacting various third-party organizations, including stakeholders in the electric vehicle community, to express concerns over the impact of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) wholesale fibre proceeding from last fall, claiming it will affect EV charging infrastructure in Canada.

Telus is distributing a template letter addressed to Minister François-Philippe Champagne, highlighting the potential repercussions of CRTC’s decisions on the development of EV charging networks, according to a copy obtained by iPhone in Canada. The telecom emphasized the importance of considering future use cases in the mandate for wholesale access to fibre networks. That’s the selling of wholesale internet from Telus to resellers.

The company claimed that the current and future connectivity needs of EV charging stations are increasingly complex and pivotal for the efficient operation of these infrastructures. The reliance on fibre-optic networks for high-speed, reliable connectivity is crucial for emerging capabilities like bidirectional power flows and the integration with autonomous vehicles.

Telus argued that insufficient consideration of these aspects in the CRTC’s fibre proceeding could significantly hinder the progress in building a robust and reliable EV charging network across Canada. If wholesale access is available at rates that are “too low” to make a profit, Telus says investment in fibre will “dry up” and reduce future investments for EV charging infrastructure.

This is about spreading fear, doubt and uncertainty—and trying to gaslight third party groups into influencing public policy—about how lower wholesale access rates might affect EV charging network development. This comes at a time when the federal government is mandating all new cars sold in 2035 will need to be electric or hybrid, while also spending tens of millions on EV charging network infrastructure.

Back in November, the CRTC launched measures that it said would increase internet competition in Canada. How? It aimed to fast-track a process to mandate Telus and Bell to open up their fibre-to-the-home networks in Ontario and Quebec. In other words, both telecoms will have to offer adjusted lower rates in both provinces to wholesalers.

But according to independent ISPs such as TekSavvy, they argue the wholesale rates being mandated are higher than retail prices Telus and Bell currently charge customers. Bell was given on an interim basis, guaranteed profit margin of 30% from the CRTC. One MP said that Bell was “blackmailing” Canadians on the CRTC internet decision.

The move by Telus urging for third parties to submit letters to Minister Champagne comes ahead of a CRTC public hearing on the matter set for February 12, 2024.

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