Bell loses CRTC appeal

The Canadian Press – | History: 471933

The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected BCE Inc.'s request to stay a regulatory ruling that will allow independent companies to sell Internet services to their customers using its fiber network in Ontario and Quebec.

The court's ruling Friday came a day after Bell Canada announced it was cutting 4,800 jobs and could further cut network spending based in part on guidance from the CRTC.

The company granted Bell's request for leave to appeal the CRTC's temporary decision, but rejected the company's request for a stay of that decision pending the outcome of the court case, saying it has not demonstrated that it is at risk of suffering irreparable harm.

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

Bell accused the CRTC of “predetermined” outcomes when it comes to this review, noting that the commission's guidance thus far reduces its incentive to continue building out its fiber network.

The company responded last fall by reducing its network investment plans by $1.1 billion through 2025, including a minimum reduction of $500 million this year, and warns there could be further cost reductions if the company feel that you have to stay ahead of regulatory decisions that you consider unfavorable.