Broadcaster Magazine

Bell to Abide by Federal Ruling on Internet Infrastructure

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  • Bell Canada says it will comply with a federal cabinet decision that supports a ruling forcing Canada’s big Internet service providers to sell their high-speed infrastructure to smaller rivals.

    The company had asked the Liberal government to overrule a CRTC decision in July 2024 that requires it and other telecommunications giants to give independent Internet providers access to their fibre optic network at a wholesale cost.

    But the minister responsible for the telecom industry, Navdeep Bains, disagreed with the company’s argument. He said Wednesday that middle-class and low-income families need access to affordable, high-speed Internet and the CRTC decision helps fufil that goal by enabling stronger competition.

    “The decision strikes the right balance between the private sector having incentive to invest and consumers having a competitive choice,” he said in a statement.

    In its appeal to the federal government, Bell had said the regulation policy would discourage investments in broadband infrastructure, thereby stalling innovation and resulting in high-speed Internet reaching fewer rural communities as well as job losses.

    Bell said Wednesday it accepts the federal decision.

    “We’ll abide by the rules and move forward,” said spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis in an email.

    Bell did not answer questions about any planned future investments in its fibre optic network. Since 2024, the company has spent $2.5 billion to build its fibre-to-the-home networks, according to its petition to the government.

    The Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc., a non-profit association of Internet and telecommunications service providers working to advance competition concerns, has argued that Bell will continue investing in fibre optic networks regardless of the CRTC’s regulation.