CRTC Seizes Internet Regulation Mantle

South of the border, the FCC has seemed toothless of late in its attempts to control Internet service provision. It longs for the vociferous support its Internet policies enjoyed just a few years ago. A Court of Appeals decision forbade the Commission from interfering with providers’ selective slowing/blocking, and months of subsequent secret net-neutrality-brokering meetings have proven fruitless and been overshadowed by a private Google-Verizon agreement. But, in Ottawa, this week’s back-to-back decisions show the CRTC firmly in control of Canadian Internet policy.

Telecom carriers have been ordered to provide smaller wholesale Internet providers with comparable access to their high-speed fiber. While the telecos may charge them a rate ten percent higher for said access, they insist that such a top-up would insufficiently compensate them for expanding and sharing their networks—discouraging further broadband expansion. The Commission counters that it is preventing a duopoly and encouraging competition while improving customer service. The Globe reports that the decisions have caused Bell Canada’s stock to slide, and that the company plans, at the very least, to appeal the CRTC decision to “order Bell to roll out broadband Internet with wired DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) technology, instead of the company’s newer wireless network”.