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CRTC decision on network access will limit Internet choice for Canadian businesses and homes

We'll need to monitor the implications of this decision closely, to ensure the CRTC's overall framework is benefiting Canadian businesses and households

June 29, 2016: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) this morning upheld part of a July 2015 ruling that will phase out independent telecom providers’ mandated access to unbundled local loops (ULLs). This ‘last mile’ access is essential for telecom providers to offer Internet and phone services to business customers and residents. The CRTC’s earlier decision to phase out this access was part of an otherwise positive ruling to ensure indie telecom providers can offer next-generation fibre services.

Independent telecom Allstream had appealed this part of the CRTC’s original July 2015 ruling, arguing that it will have a disproportionate negative impact on the over 25% of Canadian businesses that rely on independent providers for Internet access. Responding to today’s decision, OpenMedia’s campaigns director Josh Tabish called on the CRTC to evaluate the likely impact on Canadian homes and businesses, saying:

“Today’s decision will mean less choice and higher prices for the 1 in 4 Canadian businesses who currently access the Internet through an independent telecom provider. While the Commission’s decision to ensure indie providers have access to next-generation fibre services is welcome, phasing out their access to legacy networks may be premature.”

Tabish continued: “The implications of this decision will have to be monitored closely to ensure that the CRTC’s overall framework is working in a manner that benefits Canadian businesses and households and ensures a sufficiently competitive marketplace.”

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