Canada's CRTC mandates carriers open their last mile fiber to competitors

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada's telecom regulator, has laid the groundwork of a new open access last mile network environment.

Under the CRTC mandate, competitive service providers will soon be able to get their hands on the same fiber-based network speeds that incumbent telcos--Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE), Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO), and Telus (Toronto: T.TO), which are all aggressively building out their own FTTX networks--and cable MSOs--Rogers, Shaw, Videotron and Cogeco--offer to their own retail customers.

Of course, the catch for competitive service providers is that they'll be required to pay a 10 percent markup on premium services  including services based on direct fiber connections (Fiber to the Home and Fiber to the Business), and VDSL/VDSL2-based Fiber to the Node (FTTN). Existing wholesale service prices will remain unchanged.

"Requiring these companies to provide access to their networks will lead to more opportunities for competition in retail Internet services and better serve consumers," Konrad von Finckenstein, CRTC Chairman said in the decision.

Before this ruling was issued, Canadian incumbent providers could slow down any competitor's service that ran over their respective last mile networks.

While Canada's two main incumbent carriers, Bell Canada and Telus have already expressed their disagreement with the ruling, a Broadband DSL Reports study cited a Harvard University Berkman Center study that revealed that countries such as the UK that have put in an open access mandate created highly competitive broadband markets.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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