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Telus awaiting CRTC’s next move on wholesale access before investment decisions

The Canadian Press - Wed Feb 14, 12:22PM CST

Telus Corp. T-T says it won’t decide whether it needs to adjust its network spending plans until the federal telecommunications regulator makes a final ruling on the rates smaller internet companies pay larger carriers to sell services over their networks.

The company says the CRTC’s interim decision last November, which temporarily required it to provide competitors with access to its fibre-to-the-home network in Quebec within six months, did not prompt it to cut back on investment.

That stands in contrast to Bell Canada BCE-T, which responded to the November decision by reducing its network spend by $1.1 billion by 2025 including a minimum of $500 million this year.

The CRTC is in the midst of a consultation on internet competition, which includes a five-day hearing this week with over 20 groups presenting, that could determine whether to make its ruling permanent and apply it to other provinces.

Telus executive vice-president Zainul Mawji told commissioners Wednesday that a wholesale internet access framework without restrictions on who can access networks “would be a very stark outcome” that dissuades big companies from expanding into new regions.

She warned companies could choose to scale back investments and increasingly “ride on each other’s networks” as wholesalers, while also leaving residents of rural and remote regions with fewer options.

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