Coalition for Competitive Broadband prepares to go to war

Posted by Warren Frey

With new telecom companies poised to hit next year, you’d think Canada’s long history of monopolistic telecoms would be at an end. But a recent CRTC decision that lifted restrictions on incumbent service providers like Bell and Telus regarding competitor access to their networks to competitors is raising not only the ire of smaller broadband firms but a new group called the Campaign for Competitive Broadband consisting of many of the smaller Canadian broadband players, and spearheaded by MTSallstram. 

Canada’s telcos built out a massive amount of infrastructure when they established their networks, and in return the CRTC has allowed them what amounts to a monopoly to amortize their admittedly quite large expense. Rules were put in place later to ensure new competitors would have access to those networks. But now those rules are being lifted, allowing for what the CCB says is a return to monopoly and a potential dramatic rise in broadband rates. Some industry leaders agree. Bill Campbell, the president of  Vancouver-based Skyway West, said his company derives value from adding services to broadband purchased from Telus and Bell. With these new rules, that business could be threatened. 

"The demand for faster service is continuing to grow as people/business make more use of the Internet. For example, businesses are gravitating to off site back up and cloud computing. Our customers will gradually evaporate if we cannot match the speed of Internet services offered by Bell and Telus, despite how much value we add," Campbell said. 

The CCB has set up a website for broadband users to email the Prime Minister, their local MP, the Opposition Leader and Industry Minister Tony Clement to voice opposition to the CRTC decision. 

For their part, the incumbent telcos have said they oppose letting their competitors access their networks at cost, and to be fair they have a point, since they spent so much of their own capital to establish the infrastructure. But looking at the problem in the longer term, reducing competition now will inevitably hobble the big players when technology changes the rules of the game, as it always does. The developing world has skipped over landlines and gone straight for wireless, and there's no reason that a stagnant system such as the one in place in Canada won't inevitably be outpaced by something smaller, faster and cheaper.

Company:
Telus Corp.
Website:
http://www.telus.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technology is a key enabler for TELUS and our customers, providing advantage and differentiation in the marketplace. By managing the life cycle of current technologies and the timely introduction of new technologies we deliver superior service value to our customers and long-term growth oriented investment performance to our shareholders. For investors, TELUS is succeeding in managing technology and capital... more

Company:
Bell Canada
Website:
http://www.bell.ca
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Operating under the Bell brand, the Company's services include Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and VDSL television,... more

Company:
Skyway West - Business ISP
Website:
http://www.skywaywest.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Skyway West is a full service Internet Service Provider (ISP) specializing in broadband Internet access, Internet security and Internet fail over and bonding solutions. Established in 1996, we serve business clients from British Columbia to Quebec. Our network and services are engineered for business class reliability and performance, critical for a Virtual Private Network (VPN), Terminal Services and Video/Voice... more


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Warren Frey

Warren Frey

Warren Frey is a writer, editor, blogger and podcaster based out of Vancouver, BC. After working for six years in the Canadian broadcasting industry, he switched to print and has since covered varied assignments from plumbing conferences to star-studded film galas. But he’s never lost his love for the internet and interactive media, from his teens when he dived into the WELL on his “Woz”... more




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