Major policy decision will ensure consumers still have choice – even on all-fibre networks

July 23, 2015 TekSavvy Solutions Inc., one of Canada’s leading independent telecommunications providers, yesterday hailed a major policy decision from the CRTC, Canada’s communications markets authority. The decision requires large telecom and cable carriers to let competitors access their all-fibre network connections to consumers’ homes. Implemented properly, the decision will allow independents like TekSavvy to take their game to the next level – and bring consumers robust competition for years to come.

The policy decision concluded a major proceeding that the CRTC began, in late 2013, to undertake a top-to-bottom review of wholesale telecommunications services. It marks a continuing shift in regulatory emphasis from creating competition in telephone services, to creating it for broadband – the new “basic service” that Canadians rely on for voice, video, and Internet.

A key issue in this proceeding was whether to let independents like TekSavvy compete over the next generation of all-fibre networks, being installed in newer buildings and neighbourhoods, in those unbundled facilities. Today’s decision answers that question with a resounding yes.

A second key issue in this proceeding was for independents like TekSavvy to take control of their “middle-mile” networks by building closer to key clusters of end-users, rather than being locked in by incumbents to single, aggregated points of interconnection that bundled in the incumbent’s own middle mile – regardless of competitive alternatives. On that issue, too, the CRTC agreed with independents, and has ordered incumbents to create a “disaggregated” configuration that lets independents go elsewhere for the middle mile.

However, in mandating that disaggregated configuration, the CRTC’s decision also announced a three-year phase-out of the existing, aggregated configuration. That will challenge the economic case for providing service in areas where we do not have a concentration of customers – raising the bar for everyone.
“The CRTC heard what we were saying, raised the bar, and has challenged us to take our consumer game to the next level,” commented TekSavvy CEO Marc Gaudrault. “We’re up for it, and will be closely monitoring how this new scheme is implemented.”
The new CRTC policy, styled as Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-326, is one in a series of ongoing CRTC proceedings that will affect TekSavvy. Others relate to addressing the pricing and quality of wholesale services provided under the existing framework.

TekSavvy - July 23rd, 2015 - CRTC raises the bar for Canadian consumers