CRTC sides with Videotron in dispute with Bell over access to poles, other structures

OTTAWA – The CRTC ruled Friday that Bell Canada has violated sections of the Telecommunications Act by failing to provide timely access to towers, poles and other support structures required by Quebecor’s Videotron Ltd.

The two Montreal-based companies are fierce competitors in Quebec, where they both offer home internet, wireless communications, and other services.

The CRTC ordered Bell to complete several tasks within 35 days of the decision’s publication on April 16.

The CRTC also said it will take additional steps to determine whether Bell Canada must pay a financial penalty and how much it should be.

But the CRTC also denied some of Videotron’s requests because they raise national issues that are being addressed in another proceeding.

The federal telecom regulator said it wants to send a clear message that the law requires owners of support structures such as poles to share them promptly with rivals.

“This will help meet the needs of Canadians by promoting competition in the telecommunications services market and access to broadband internet access services with higher speeds,” the commission said in its decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:QBR.B)