CRTC: Competition tight for telcos

It’s official – 2001 was a tough year for Canada’s telcos, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) reported Friday.

Ottawa-based CRTC issued the findings of its second annual report on the state of broadband infrastructure, regulation and competition within the telecommunications sector.

Although the Canadian industry remains a formidable economic force – 2001 revenue topped $32 billion, an increase of nearly 10 per cent over the previous year – CRTC reported that last year was difficult for telecom service providers, particularly smaller competitors.

“Our analysis indicates we still have some challenges ahead of us in order to achieve the goal of sustainable facilities-based competition in Canada,” said CRTC Chairman Charles Dalfen in a statement.

Large incumbents, such as Bell Canada and Telus, continued to control more than 96 per cent of total local lines and more than 97 per cent of total local revenues, the CRTC said.

The report shows that competitors lost market share in the long distance market and only able to “marginally” increase local market share. In addition, competition in the local wireline market grew at a slower pace than in previous years.

Local and access revenues jumped eight per cent from roughly $10.6 billion in 2000 to almost $11.5 billion in 2001, according to the CRTC report.

Revenues from data and private lines revenues rose to $3.9 billion in 2001, up 15 per cent from the previous year. However, the report revealed that competitors’ share of these revenues declined from about 26 per cent in 2000 to 24.5 per cent in 2001.

Broadband deployment continued to progress; although rural and remote communities remain underserved, 85 per cent of Canadians have access to high-speed Internet.

The Internet access market continued to be the fastest growing market in the industry, in terms of revenue percent growth (48 per cent). CRTC reported the incumbent telephone companies had 39 per cent of the retail revenues in the Internet access market in 2001, while cable incumbents had 31 per cent and non-incumbent service providers had 30 per cent.

The report provides information on the telecommunications industry, including the regulatory regime, key players, and the status of competition and its effect on customers.

The full report can be found at