Videotron Access to Poles: CRTC issues .5 million in penalties to Bell

Videotron Access to Poles: CRTC issues $7.5 million in penalties to Bell

Bell Canada was fined $7.5 million by the CRTC for denying Videotron access to its towers to build its telecommunications network.

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“The CRTC has determined that Bell Canada has denied requests for access permits to its telephone towers from Videotron, its main Quebec competitor, the organization said Wednesday in announcing its decision. Consequently, Videotron was unable to access Bell Canada’s poles, delaying the construction of its network and giving Bell Canada a competitive advantage.

For each of those three violations of the Telecommunications Act, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission added, Bell was fined $2.5 million.

The pole access saga dates back to 2020 when Videotron, a subsidiary of Quebecor, filed a petition with the CRTC regarding the processing of its Bell access permit applications.

The CRTC then ruled that Bell had breached the terms of its (for Bell) National Services Tariff and Support Structure License Agreement contained in its tariff. The CRTC therefore concluded that Bell violated the Telecommunications Act.

As a result, a consultation was initiated by the CRTC in April 2021 to determine whether an administrative fine should be imposed on Bell Canada.

Commenting on the decision on Wednesday, CRTC Chairman and CEO Ian Scott said: “It is important that the market for telecommunications services is fair and competitive in order for Canadians to be able to take advantage of a range of services from different providers. “Today’s decision underscores that point and demonstrates that we will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to take action to promote compliance when a company’s actions violate these principles.”

Bell declined to comment on the decision.

“We are aware of the decision and have no comment at this time,” Caroline Audet, senior media relations manager at Bell Canada, replied via email.