Canada’s telecom watchdog has approved of a local competition plan implemented by Quebec regional telecom Sogetel.
According to a July 20th, 2018 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) media release, Sogetel now has 160 days to implement its competition framework, which would pave the way for competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) Iristel to launch telecom services in Lac-Etchemin, Nicolet and St. Liboire, Quebec.
Existing Sogetel subscribers looking to switch carrier will also be able to port over their existing Sogetel phone numbers.
“The Commission’s decision enables customers in these exchanges to have a greater choice of telecommunications services,” reads an excerpt from Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) July 20th, 2018 decision.
Today’s CRTC decision is the result of Iristel formally expressing interest in competing in the region.
Following Iristel’s submission, Sogetel submitted its implementation plan on January 8th, 2018.
The CRTC added that it “expects the two parties to negotiate the proposed terms and technologies, and to interconnect using the most efficient configuration possible, while minimizing the costs to be incurred.”
This is the second CRTC ruling favouring competition between Iristel and a local carrier.
The CRTC determined in March 2018 that Iristel can compete with regional carrier Eastlink in Aylmer, Ontario.
It’s worth noting that while Eastlink argued against Iristel moving into the Aylmer region, it seems that Sogetel had no issue competing with Iristel.
Additionally, the CRTC recently announced that it would phase out its local voice subsidy by 2021, in favour of an internet-first approach.
“Accordingly, the reduction in the rate component used to calculate the subsidy amount for the recovery of ongoing costs approved in this decision will be included in the 2018 subsidy amount that will be used as the starting point for the phase-out,” concluded the CRTC, in its decision document.
The local voice subsidy was originally designed to reduce the costs of residential local telephone services in high-cost areas.
As a result of the CRTC’s decision to establish a $750 million fund for basic broadband internet service across the country, the Commission deemed the local voice subsidy superfluous.