Montréal, April 16, 2021 – The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision this morning in response to Videotron’s representations concerning the unscrupulous tactics Bell is using to block access to its support structures. The federal regulator’s response is unequivocal: Bell has contravened numerous regulations and deliberately violated the Telecommunications Act. The CRTC directed Bell to complete, at its own cost, the make-ready work required under applications for access permits.
Bell giving itself undue preference
The CRTC found that the preference Bell Canada has granted itself and the disadvantage it has imposed on Videotron are undue and unreasonable. The Commission further found that Bell’s arguments to justify the delays were not valid but rather consistent with Bell’s practice of giving itself more efficient access to build out its own network.
Clearly this anti-competitive behaviour, which has been denounced by Videotron and many other industry stakeholders, must stop. In addition to prompt and concrete action by Bell, Videotron is awaiting a court ruling on the lawsuit for damages it filed in the same matter in September 2020.
Highlights of CRTC decision
- “Bell Canada cannot rely on arguments relating to the complexity of its own network management system to explain the very long delays to and the denial of Videotron’s access applications, while itself benefiting from more efficient and timely access.” (par. 85)
- “The Commission finds that Bell Canada failed to demonstrate that the preference it granted itself is not unjust or undue.” (par. 85)
- “Consequently, the Commission considers that the statistics presented by Videotron paint a more realistic picture of the situation and are indicative of a systemic issue, or at least a pattern of inefficient practices on Bell Canada’s part, which frequently impede the efforts of licensees to the disadvantage of consumers.” (par. 86)
- “The Commission considers that the record as a whole contains sufficient detailed evidence regarding Videotron’s applications related to the slowness and inefficiency of the system for issuing permits to use Bell Canada’s support structures.” (par. 92)
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-131
- Press release: Videotron asks for investigation into Bell’s anticompetitive practices
- Lawsuit for damages
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Videotron, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., is an integrated communications company engaged in television, entertainment, Internet access, wireline telephone and mobile telephone services. Videotron is a leader in new technologies with its Helix home entertainment and management platform. As of December 31, 2020, Videotron was serving 1,475,600 cable television customers and 469,000 subscribers to its Club illico video streaming service. Videotron is also the Québec leader in high-speed Internet access, with 1,796,800 subscribers as of December 31, 2020. As of the same date, Videotron had 1,481,100 subscriber connections to its mobile telephone service and was providing wireline telephone service to 924,700 Québec households and organizations. Videotron has been recognized as one of Montréal’s top employers.
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Public Relations Advisor, Corporate Affairs