Bell Canada, competitive carriers fight over last mile network access

Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) and Canadian competitive provider Primus (OTC BB: PMUG.OB) are once again finding themselves engaged in the classic fight on how to get access to network facilities.

Saying it's no longer a telephone monopoly, George Cope, President and CEO of BCE, asked Canada's telecom regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to free them from the obligation of providing competitive ISPs wholesale access to its copper-based networks.

"The monopoly legacy telephone network is truly a relic of the past," said Cope. "In a competitive environment like this we must choose to whom we sell and distribute our products and at what price, just as any other competitive industry."

At the same time, Cope argued that the CRTC should also not force Bell Canada or its subsidiary Bell Aliant to give competitors access to its new Fiber to the X networks because it would hamper their ability to offer IPTV and other advanced services to compete with cable's DOCSIS 3.0 migration. Bell Canada and subsidiary Bell Aliant are currently building out their own respective Fiber to the Node and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks.  

One carrier that's not buying Bell's claims is Primus Canada. Although it does resell Bell services, Andrew Day, CEO of Primus says it has spent millions of dollars building out its own network infrastructure competitive service provider. Having access to Bell's facilities will enable to expand its reach beyond the 21 percent it currently has in Canada's broadband market.

Day argued that without access to network facilities from Canada's incumbent service providers (Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Telus), "Primus will effectively be forced out of the residential high speed Internet business within five years."

For more:
- TeleGeography has this article
- Network World Canada also has this coverage

Related articles:
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Bell Aliant Q1 revenue dips, but stays course with FTTH buildout
Canadian telco Bell Aliant looks to IPTV, FTTH for growth through 2015
Bell Canada lays out its FTTN service plans