Bell turns to CRTC in ongoing dispute with Rogers over wireless access on TTC

Bell says intervention is needed for the sake of 'public interest'

Bell wants Canada’s telecom watchdog to intervene on Rogers’ plans to bring wireless connectivity to the TTC.

The telecom company has filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on the matter. One of their requests asks the commission to block Rogers from giving wireless connectivity to its customers until it can provide the same for all carriers.

Bell argues that Rogers “has an incentive” to onboard its customers to the wireless network first before repeating the process for other carriers and their customers.

We have been forced to bring this application because Rogers, after reaching a sole-sourced deal with the TTC, has refused to negotiate or collaborate with other wireless carriers to expand access, and is instead seeking to deny or delay access for as long as possible for the majority of Canadians who have chosen another wireless carrier.”

Rogers bought the rights to TTC’s wireless network in April. Bell and Telus have asked for a joint build model, and Bell has called on the federal government to intervene. This is in stark contrast to Bell’s complaint of regulators involving themselves in telecom matters. Rogers said it shared its framework to allow other carriers onto the network with the federal Industry Minister in May. The company says it will enter an arbitration process through the government if it can’t reach an agreement with carriers by August 15th.

But Bell argues the move just focuses on the process and not the outcome. “Their so-called ‘framework’ is nothing other than an attempt to formalize their strategy of delay.” Bell argues Rogers can take steps to elong the onboarding experience for carriers by several years, up to 2027.

The company wants the CRTC to order Rogers to work with carriers on the matter and force the company to share its cost-sharing model. Bell says Rogers has refused to provide the information after making promises to do so.

Rogers wants to deny or delay access for all other carriers for as long [as] possible. Unless the Commission intervenes, it is likely to be years before the majority of Canadians can access wireless services in the TTC subway system.”

Bell asks the CRTC to make a ruling by July 14th.

Rogers has refuted Bell’s claims.

“Bell’s application is full of inaccuracies and mischaracterizations. Our commitment to modernize and expand the network to deliver full wireless coverage as soon as possible for all TTC riders, regardless of their carrier, remains unchanged,” a spokesperson told MobileSyrup.

“Over a month ago, we proposed a fair and reasonable framework for all carriers to join the network and offered to use the government’s arbitration process if we couldn’t work out a deal by August. In the meantime, we’re focused on ensuring critical 9-1-1 services continue to be available for all TTC riders on the existing network and addressing a significant public safety concern.”

Updated June 16th, 2023, 1:46pm ET: The article has been updated with a statement from Rogers.

Updated June 16th, 2023, 3:52pm ET: The article has been updated to clarify Rogers shared its framework with the federal government in May.