Canada’s big telecom companies will be required to open their highest-speed internet cables to smaller competitors who want to offer broadband services to consumers, according to a CRTC ruling released today.
That means that big telecom and cable providers, who are already required to share their copper and coaxial cables with smaller competitors such as Primus, Distributel or TekSavvy, will now have to do the same with their fibre optic cables.
The smaller competitor companies currently own about 10 per cent of the Canadian home internet market, with the other 90 per cent controlled by big phone and cable companies.
The CRTC decision is a major loss for big companies like Bell and Telus, which argue that they would have no incentive to invest in laying new fibre optic cables if they are forced to allow rival companies to profit from them.
But the ruling also contains some solace for the big providers. The CRTC said it will allow the big telecoms to charge fees for sharing their cables in order to make a profit on their investments. The pricing model will be worked out with each company on the basis of actual cost, plus a markup of about 30 per cent.