CRTC moves to deregulate wholesale telco services

More than a third of wholesale services, which generate more than $3 billion of overall telecommunications revenues, will be deregulated within the next four years, the CRTC said Monday following a consultation about what incumbents have to sell to their competitors and at what prices.

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The decision will not include wholesale services that are deemed within the public interest, such as 911 and message relay services, the CRTC said. Incumbents are also still mandated to provide interconnection services to competitors.

Key to the consultation process was defining “essential services” as it relates to the telecom sector. The CRTC essential services must be required by competitors to provide a retail telecommunications service; be controlled by a company that could use its market power to lessen or prevent competition; and, provide a functionality that would not be practical or feasible for competitors to duplicate.

Those services the CRTC is deregulating will go through a three to five-year transition period to prepare the market, the regulator added. In 2013, the CRTC said it will conduct a review of the services that are still mandated. According to the CRTC, in 2006 wholesale services accounted for approximately $3.3 billion of overall telecommunications revenues and major telephone companies held a 65 per cent share of this market segment. The remaining share was held by major telephone companies operating outside their established territories and other service providers.