February 26th, 2024

Bell denied stay of CRTC decision allowing access to its fibre network

By The Canadian Press on February 12, 2024.

Bell Canada signage is pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday Sept. 7, 2022. The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected BCE Inc.'s request for a stay of a regulatory decision that will allow independent companies to sell internet services to their customers using its fibre network in Ontario and Quebec.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected BCE Inc.’s request for a stay of a regulatory decision that will allow independent companies to sell internet services to their customers using its fibre network in Ontario and Quebec.

The court’s decision on Friday came a day after Bell Canada announced it was slashing 4,800 jobs and could further cut network spending based in part on the CRTC’s direction.

It granted Bell’s request for permission to appeal the CRTC’s temporary ruling, but dismissed the company’s motion for a stay of that decision pending the outcome of the court process, saying it did not demonstrate it is at risk of suffering irreparable harm.

The CRTC’s decision last November was meant to stimulate competition for internet services, noting at the time its review could potentially make that direction permanent and apply it to other provinces. The federal regulator kicked off a five-day hearing on Monday as part of that review.

Bell has accused the CRTC of “predetermined” outcomes when it comes to that review, noting the commission’s direction thus far reduces its incentive to continue building out its fibre network.

It responded last fall by reducing its network investment plans by $1.1 billion by 2025, including a minimum reduction of $500 million this year, and warns there could be further cost reductions if the company feels it has to stay ahead of regulatory decisions it finds unfavourable.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE)

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