Alternative ISPs will be able to match the top broadband speeds provided by the larger operators under the latest decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The regulator said that large telephone companies must make their existing internet access services available to alternate ISPs at speeds that match those offered to their own retail customers. This reinstates the previous policy that had been withdrawn in 2007 at the request of the incumbents. The new decision includes ADSL services and fibre-based offerings.
To recognise and encourage investment in fibre networks, the incumbent operators will be allowed to charge a 10 percent mark-up on their costs for the use of their wholesale internet services' higher-speed options. Cable operators are already subject to the speed-matching requirements. Under the new decision, they must modify their existing internet access services in such a way that alternate ISPs can connect to their networks at as few points as possible. In addition, the commission denied the alternative ISPs' requests that the large telephone and cable companies reconfigure their networks. Although these reconfigurations may have permitted ISPs to offer additional services to consumers, the CRTC felt that they would constitute a disincentive to network investments without necessarily enhancing innovation or competition.