Bell Caps Fibre Internet Speeds to 3 Gbps, Blames CRTC

Bell announced yesterday it was cutting 4,800 jobs and selling off 45 radio stations, a money-saving move expected to bring back $150 to $200 million for the company.

Aside from slashing 9% of its workforce, Bell also announced it has capped fibre internet speeds to 3 Gbps. The company blamed this policy change on the CRTC’s wholesale access rate decision from last fall, that it says also “discourages network investment”.

In September 2022, Bell announced its Fibe Gigabit 8.0 service first in Toronto, joining speeds of 3 Gbps and 5 Gbps. But now it will no longer offer any speeds beyond 3 Gbps, as part of its plan to reduce capital investment.

A letter sent out yesterday by Philippe Gauvin, Assistant General Counsel for Bell Canada, to Leila Wright, Executive Director, Telecommunications at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), explains the company’s decision.

Gauvin said the CRTC’s wholesale internet decision for Ontario and Quebec that compelled Bell to offer fibre-to-the-premises networks on an interim basis, has resulted in Bell making changes to its fibre speeds. Gauvin said it would cap speeds to 3 Gbps, noting there were a lack of wholesale customers at speeds of 5 Gbps and 8 Gbps.

The letter was emailed by Gauvin was also CC’d to the following:

  • Kent Philippe (CRTC)
  • Adam Mills (CRTC)
  • Christopher Roy (CRTC)
  • Greg Lang (CRTC)
  • Marianne Blais (CRTC)
  • Peter Keriakos (CRTC)
  • British Columbia Broadband Association (BCBA)
  • CIK Telecom Inc
  • Citywide
  • CNOC
  • Cogeco Peer 1 (Canada) Inc.
  • Community Fibre
  • Comwave
  • Eastlink
  • Public Interest Advocacy Centre
  • RCCI
  • SaskTel
  • Shaw, Duncan
  • TekSavvy Solutions
  • Vaxination Informatique
  • Videotron
  • John Roman
  • WaveDirect Telecommunications Limited
  • Vaxxine Computer Systems Inc.
  • Truespeed Internet Services Inc.
  • SkyChoice Communications
  • Securenet
  • Secure by Design
  • OpenMedia
  • Netrevolution inc.
  • National Capital FreeNet
  • IGS Hawkesbury Inc.
  • First Mile Connectivity Consortium
  • Devtel Communications Inc.
  • CPC
  • Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project (CAMP)
  • Beanfield
  • Marc Nanni
  • Coextro
  • Carry Telecom
  • Manitoba Coalition (Consumers’ Association of Canada (Manitoba Branch), Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg, Harvest Manitoba)
  • Frontier Networks

In Q4 2023, Bell says it cut back its capital investment by $105 million more than it expected from its previous fall announcement to slash $500 to $600 million in 2024 and $1 billion in 2024-2025. Nothing scares the federal government more than a company reducing its investments—as that usually results in job losses.

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