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PIAC supports CRTC decision to mandate wholesale access to high-speed access services including FTTH
OTTAWA, July 22, 2015 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) supports a decision made by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today to require incumbent phone and cable companies to make their high-speed Internet facilities, including fibre-to-the-home, available to competing service providers who wish to offer telecommunications services to Canadian consumers.
“We are pleased that the CRTC has required competitor access to fibre-to-the-home, which is likely to grow in consumer demand as Canadians expect and need higher Internet speeds,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and Counsel to PIAC. “We hope the decision will ensure competition at the retail level which will provide consumers with more choice and better prices for broadband.”
The CRTC decision requires incumbent telephone and cable companies to provide “disaggregated” wholesale high-speed access services, including fibre, to competitors. The CRTC disagreed with incumbent carriers that wireline Internet services could now be substituted by wireless or satellite services and held instead that wireline services will be more efficient now and into the future.
“The CRTC has boldly revised wholesale internet and telephone access market,” said Jean-François Léger, Counsel to PIAC. “While the details have yet to be settled, it appears the Commission has opted for a new approach that requires and expects more investment in fibre and transport by both incumbents and smaller competitors.”
In a public hearing last fall, PIAC and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC) argued that consumers would benefit from mandated open access to the facilities of incumbent telecommunications services providers – including fibre-to-the-home – because it would encourage more competition, more choice, and more affordable pricing at the retail level for broadband now and into the future. PIAC and CAC also argued that requiring access to “essential” wholesale internet connectivity would create more retail competition and would in fact spur greater innovation and investment in broadband networks.
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