The CRTC has put forth yet another ruling in favour of the little guys. Starting next year, the country’s largest internet service providers (ISPs) must share their high speed fibre networks with their smaller competitors.

The ruling comes more than 6 months after the CRTC held public hearings where they heard from industry players, consumer advocates, municipal groups and academics regarding the high speed fibre networks that crisscross the country and whether these networks should be open to all ISPs or just the larger companies who put the fibre infrastructure in place.

While there are more than 500 ‘alternative’ ISPs in Canada (think TekSavvy and Distributel), the market is still dominated by five large players – Rogers, Bell, Telus, Shaw and Quebecor – who together control 75% of the Canadian market.

While many hail the ruling as a victory for the Canadian consumer, others are quick to temper expectations.

Bram Abramson, chief legal and regulatory officer at TekSavvy, praised the decision, but advised against premature celebration. “The devil really is in the details on this […] …there are a million ways in which this could become unworkable if implemented wrong. For example, what rates are we going to pay? We won’t know until those tariffs are done and settled.”

However, consumer advocate group says the ruling is the “first step towards ensuring small independent ISPs are able to sell fibre Internet in Canada, which should expand access and affordability for users.”

Given that the smaller players won’t be rolling out their fibre services until sometime next year, only time will tell if this is truly a win for the little guys.


[Source: Globe & Mail ]