Federal Court to hear telco appeals on wholesale broadband rates set by CRTC

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A CRTC logo is shown in Montreal, Monday, September 10, 2012. The Federal Court of Appeal says it will hear an appeal by telecom companies over the wholesale rates for broadband imposed in August by Canada's telecommunications regulator. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

OTTAWA — The Federal Court of Appeal says it will hear appeals by telecom companies over the wholesale rates for broadband imposed in August by Canada’s telecommunications regulator.

Appeals were launched by BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and others after the CRTC concluded a lengthy review of rates by slashing how much large carriers can charge smaller rivals for access to their broadband networks.

Justice Richard Boivin says in rulings filed late Friday that he is “satisfied that there is a serious issue” and that respondents to the appeals, which include smaller internet providers and advocacy groups, made no compelling arguments to the contrary.

Boivin also extended the stay already granted on the new rates until the court makes a final ruling.

Major telecom companies have also appealed directly to the federal cabinet to have the rates reversed, and to block an order that the new rates be made retroactive to 2016 when the review began.

The companies have warned that investments in expanding their networks would be affected if the rates paid by smaller rivals like Teksavvy Solutions and Distributel Communications are set too low.

Five cable companies including Eastlink Inc., Cogeco Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., Videotron and Rogers launched one appeal, while Bell launched a similar but separate appeal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2019.

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

The Canadian Press

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