Canada Infrastructure Bank Considered Public Utility Internet vs Rogers, Telus, Bell

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What would it take to lower internet prices in Canada? How about a public utility to compete against Canada’s Big 3 telecoms?

According to The Logic, this is exactly what was considered by the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), a crown corporation created by the Liberals in 2017, at the cost of $35 billion, to invest in infrastructure projects with private companies:

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) considered creating a public utility to lower internet prices for consumers and compete with Bell, Rogers and Telus, The Logic has learned.

The bank also discussed fundamental changes to how telecommunications infrastructure is regulated so what one company builds would have to be shared with all other firms, according to a briefing note prepared for CIB CEO Pierre Lavallée.

The note from October 2018 also says CIB considered a variety of investments, “including 5G in urban areas, public Wi-Fi and Next-Generation 9-1-1 services.”

“This existing spend could be used as the basis for a holistic public utility model which in turn could cheaply be expanded for retail consumer use,” explains the briefing.

The report suggested a public utility would be able to more efficiently build out rural infrastructure versus paying the private sector. You can read more about the breakdown of the report over at The Financial Post.

Responding to The Logic, CIB senior director of media relations said, “This internal note is a year old by a former CIB employee and that context matters.”

Do you think a public utility for internet to compete against the Big 3 would ever happen?