Mandating more open access to the fibre networks of large telecom operators will force large providers to curtail further investments in expanding the country’s Internet grid, a top executive of Bell Canada told the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission panel yesterday.
During the CRTC’s hearing to examine if small internet service providers (ISPs) are able to access at a fair price the networks of larger operators such as Bell, Telus and Rogers, the regulator was also told that the market should not be regulated further.
Five years ago, The CRTC mandated that big telecom providers allow smaller ISPs access to their networks to level the playing field. The CRTC set wholesale rates for the service. However, smaller ISPs said the rates charged by the large operators are too high.
However during yesterday’s hearing, Mirko Bibic, executive vice-president of Bell, said the CRTC should allow the market forces to drive competition instead.
“If there are rules in place that make building (networks) in the first place unprofitable, we will not build to a community,” Bibic was quoted as saying by The Record.com.
He said this will leave consumers with the only option of going to cable carriers in order to obtain high-speed Internet service.
Chris Tacit, legal counsel for the Canadian Network Operators Consortium (CNOC), an organization that represents independent ISPs, said it is unlikely that Bell and the larger telcos would stop making investments in fibre.
He said telcos “have a natural incentive” to build networks where a cable carrier operates because “otherwise the cable carrier will eat their lunch.”