The CRTC announced that it has imposed a total of $7.5 million in penalties on Bell Canada for three violations of the Telecommunications Act.
The CRTC found that Bell Canada denied permit applications for access to its telephone poles from Videotron, its main competitor in Quebec. As a result, Videotron was not able to access Bell Canada’s poles, which delayed its network deployment and created a competitive advantage for Bell Canada.
The CRTC’s decision issued today sets the penalties for these three violations of the Telecommunications Act at $2.5 million each.
“It is vitally important that the market for telecommunications services be fair and competitive so that Canadians can enjoy a range of services from different providers. Today’s decision underscores this 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.” – Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO, CRTC
- In 2020, Videotron filed an application requesting that the CRTC issue orders relating to Bell Canada’s processing of access permit applications and granting of access permits to its support structures.
- The CRTC found that Bell Canada had breached its Tariff and its Support Structure Licence Agreement and was therefore in breach of section 24 and subsections 25(1) and 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act.
- These violations were judged to be serious enough to grant Bell Canada a competitive advantage over Videotron, which is its main competitor in Quebec.
- In April 2021, the CRTC launched a consultation to determine whether it was appropriate to impose a monetary penalty on Bell Canada because of the violations, and if so, what the amount should be.
- Penalties should promote compliance with the Telecommunications Act and deter future non-compliance.