Videotron is fed up with not having access to Bell's telephone poles fast enough to build its super-fast Internet network in certain regions of Quebec.
Posted September 30, 2020 at 4:38 PM
Videotron asks the Competition Bureau of Canada to investigate Bell's practices to share his poles. Videotron, which calls the practices "unfair tactics" and "unlawful obstruction," also filed a $ 12.7 million civil suit against Bell on Wednesday to offset losses in recent years. Bell refutes Videotron's allegations.
“Bell's anti-competitive maneuvers must stop. That is why we call on the Competition Bureau to take all necessary measures to put an end to it. Québecers are entitled to healthy competition and to high-quality telecommunications services. All are unfairly penalized when Bell blocks access to other operators in their area, town, or neighborhood. This is simply unacceptable, ”said Jean-François Pruneau, President and CEO of Videotron, in a press release.
Why is access to the 2.7 million traditional telephone poles in Quebec so important to telecom companies? In existing neighborhoods, fiber on high-speed internet must run through telephone poles, which are owned by Hydro-Québec (61%), Bell (25%), Telus and Télébec. A permit must be obtained from the owner of the posts before you can access them. Without access to poles, it is impossible to provide super fast internet in certain regions of Quebec.
Bell disputes Videotron's allegations. “The posts are owned by communications companies, sometimes used jointly, as is Hydro-Québec. A strict CRTC regulatory and authorization process must be followed, but Bell, Telus and Hydro-Quebec are part of a working group with the Quebec government that aims to ensure faster access to poles for all suppliers respecting services all safety standards, ”said Bell by email.
The Quebecor-owned company claims that Bell "systematically delays or omits the processing of access requests up to [poteaux]" and "often creates artificial pitfalls for the deployment of competing networks, while using its own as a priority. ", adding that a Videotron request to access a Bell pole can take up to" two and a half years to be processed, "a" totally unreasonable "delay. "By doing this, Bell is slowing down the development and upgrade of the Internet in all regions of Quebec," Videotron said in a press release.
Videotron is not the only telecom company to complain about long delays in accessing poles, especially Bell's. Cogeco would also like to have faster access to the poles. "The posts are a big problem," said Philippe Jetté, Cogeco President and CEO. There are many difficulties, we want it to be fast. The reality is that it requires a lot of coordination with private parties, public parties, and para-languages. The more people there are, the longer it will take. & # 39; What about Bell & # 39; s attitude on this matter? "Bell puts his interests first and not those of his competitors," said Mr. Jetté. Unlike Videotron, Cogeco did not request an investigation with the Competition Bureau or bring any civil action against Bell in this case.