CRTC puts off-tariff agreements under scrutiny again

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TechSavvy Application to CRTC Stirring up a hornet’s nest, to address issues of undue preference arising out of Off-Tariff Agreements (OTAs) Interference Coming from sympathizers and critics alike.

were OTA allowed by crtc In 2012, it allowed carriers to enter into negotiated wholesale agreements with competitors that deviated from the commission’s common rate regime.

but with tangled rogers-shaw merger at stake, a new policy direction With competition and the push for innovation, and the meteoric rise in cell phone service bills over the past decade, the OTA controversy couldn’t be more relevant.

TechSavvy’s Part 1 application, filed on January 20, refers to two alleged examples of unfair preference. The first is the OTA that Rogers entered into with Videotron as a measure to close the C$26 billion acquisition of Shaw. The wholesale arrangement will provide Videotron with favorable rates and terms for backhaul, domestic roaming and access to third-party Internet access (TPIA), not available to other competitors.

The second example concerned Bell, which according to Independent ISPs, is providing its newly acquired Ebox Inc. access to wholesale FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) services that are not available to other competitors and for which there is no wholesale . Tariff.

Pending the outcome of this investigation, TekSavvy is asking the CRTC to void the wholesale agreement between Rogers and Videotron or to order Rogers to extend the same rates and conditions to all competitors. Teksavvy said that Bell should also be ordered to provide competitors with overall wholesale access to the FTTP service speeds provided by EBOX.

The application received support from advocacy groups such as OpenMedia, the Public Interest Advocacy Center (PIAC), competing network operators in Canada, and competing carriers GlobalLive, Telus and the Community Fiber Company.

Globalive, one of the most outspoken critics of the Rogers–Shaw merger, argued that these wholesale arrangements would have a negative impact on its re-entry into the wireless market. Globalive also said it is preparing its Part 1 application to the CRTC with respect to these wireless-specific arrangements and related specific measures.

PIAC argued that the CRTC allowing OTAs was “the beginning of a slow death for wholesale competition”, adding, “It is no surprise that the absence of rigorous Commission oversight has created a system ripe for abuse and secrecy.” The system was in fact abused and rendered largely disrespectful to both the competitors and the public.

Furthermore, OpenMedia claimed that its support for TekSavvy’s application represented a community of “approximately 300,000 people in Canada”. But it should be noted that the association only attached a petition with 31,886 signatures, Mark Goldberg, a senior consultant in the telecommunications industry, pointed out in a doScanning through the signatures revealed several duplicates.

TELUS showed support for TekSavvy’s request to investigate whether the agreements between Rogers and Videotron violate subsection 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act, but took “no position” on whether a similar investigation is needed in Bell’s case. does not take”.

Shaw and Quebecor, unsurprisingly, bared their teeth, rejecting Tekkesavi’s plea to break the divide on which side the Rogers-Shaw merger deal lives or dies.

Since the 2012 ruling, Shaw argued, at least 21 OTAs had been entered by carriers, and dozens more since 2015. “Despite the exponential growth in OTAs over the past decade, this is TekSavvy’s first Part 1 application alleging undue preference through OTAs, negating TekSavvy’s suggestion that OTAs are inherently problematic.”

Shaw said the new policy direction does not justify reconsidering the entire OTA regime. “Indeed, the prevalence of OTAs shows that a strong market for wholesale internet services has emerged and is healthy. The current regime is achieving the objectives of the Act, while encouraging all forms of competition and helping to do so.” promotes market efficiency, all of which are in line with Section 2 of the new policy direction.

Quebecor, on the other hand, took a big lead in saying that it is indeed open to entering into an OTA with TechSavvy or any other carrier. The Quebec-based carrier said it may also offer the same bulk arrangement that Rogers currently has. Quebecor says that should be sufficient for the CRTC to see that there is no undue preference arising from the OTA with Rogers.

However, Quebecor confirmed Tekcevi’s request to investigate Bell’s alleged instance of undue favoritism.

In response to Tekcevi’s allegations, Bell affirmed; “ebox is now a division of Bell. Bell does not provide any wholesale services, telecommunications or other services to EBOX. There can be no agreement between Bell and ebox, off-tariff or not, preferential or not, because they There is only one corporate entity.

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