CRTC Suggests to Share Fiber Optic Network

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has demanded that bigger operators share their fiber optic networks with other players in an attempt to provide a fair platform for all providers. With this decision to open up the networks for all, the regulator says that competition is important, that they can not afford to duplicate networks in Canada. The CRTC is making sure that Canadians get access to competitive rates and are not locked in.

Major telecom service providers such as Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw have made fiber optic services available to about three million homes across. Opening up of fiber optic networks to other small players will provide equal business opportunities for new players that will lead to the creation of affordable high speed services in the country.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is a public organization in Canada with the mandate as a regulatory agency for broadcasting and telecommunications. It was created in 1976 when it took over responsibility for regulating telecommunication carriers. Prior to 1976, it was known as the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, which was established in 1968 by the Parliament of Canada to replace the Board of Broadcast Governors. Its headquarters is located in the Central Building (Édifice central) of Les Terrasses de la Chaudière in Gatineau, Quebec.

In a recent filing with FCC, Windstream wrote that the business consumers-including the small- and medium-sized businesses that drive economic growth and job creation, state and local governments, schools, and non-profit health care providers-will be hurt significantly if the IP transition deprives them of their choice of integrated communications solutions because the large incumbent LECs can raise prices for critical last-mile transmission, whether Ethernet or unbundled DS1/DS3 capacity loops.

Big providers were already required to share coaxial cables with smaller competitors. The announcement aimed at opening the fiber optic network infrastructures is a significant step forward for Canadians’ ability to access affordable Internet options independent of Canada’s large telecom providers.

CRTC had limited smaller ISPs to access their slower networks, through cable or copper wire connections. The CRTC said this is designed to discourage smaller competitors from acting as mere resellers of existing bandwidth, rather than contributing to expanding the total amount of bandwidth available. The largest providers still dominate the internet market. While that is considered a fast internet connection today, the CRTC believes that any company that remains capped at 100 Mbps will become increasingly unattractive to consumers as internet speeds increase across the board. That spares Telus Corp, which is building out fiber optics in Western Canada, from the initial sting.

The regulator is confident the big companies will have little choice but to keep spending on fiber optic rollouts if they are to compete effectively. That’s because, without fiber optics, the telephone companies are stuck using copper cables that can only offer a maximum of about 50 Mbps. The ruling initially impacts Ontario and Quebec but will cover all of Canada in time. For the time being, smaller companies are unlikely to offer rival high-speed internet packages in other parts of Canada. The ruling also said wholesale landline services must be “disaggregated”, separating access from interconnection.

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