Nearly 50% of Cogeco’s Network Users Controlled by the ‘Big 3’
Starting today, the CRTC is launching its public hearing to review the wholesale high-speed access framework, set to conclude on Friday.
Major telecoms, smaller independent ISPs (those remaining anyways) and public advocacy groups are set to appear at the hearing, to present their arguments. Today will see OpenMedia and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre appear. On Tuesday, Xplore, Eastlink and SaskTel will present, while on Wednesday, Telus and Bell will appear. Rogers, Cogeco and Quebecor are set to present on Thursday, while TekSavvy will close it out on Friday.
Major network operators are set to protest the CRTC’s mandate on opening up wholesale broadband in Ontario and Quebec, a decision made last fall. Big telecoms will need to let third-party ISPs such as TekSavvy and Distributel get wholesale access at rates set by the CRTC, to increase competition.
Bell took the CRTC to court immediately after they were announced to appeal them. The company announced last week it is set to cut 4,800 jobs, which it blames on the federal government’s policies.
Cogeco told the Globe and Mail it believes the current regulatory environment favours major telecoms such as Rogers, Telus and Bell. Smaller ISPs have been gobbled up by major telecoms over the past few years. The end result? Cogeco says almost 50% of third-party users on its network are owned by the Big 3.
“This was intended for the small players to have a chance to start and create competition in Canada, and now it’s the big guys using it,” said Frédéric Perron, president of Cogeco’s Canadian cable operations. Cogeco itself acquired Montreal-based wholesale competitor Oxio last year.
“If the Big Three can keep using our network as an all-you-can-eat buffet, like they are right now, the implications are not good for Cogeco, and they’re not good for regional players in general. And they’re certainly not good for Canadians,” added Perron.
Do you think the CRTC’s policies are increasing internet competition in Canada?