In the game of telecommunications deregulation, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (Commission) has dealt yet another hand. In a recent decision, the CRTC has decided to refrain from regulating additional high-capacity inter-exchange private line (IXPL) route specific

services. The “”deregulation”” applies only to routes for which competitors of the incumbent local exchange carriers provide services at DS3 or greater bandwidth.

The Commission will forebear specific telecommunications services when it deems that to do so would be in keeping with its telecommunications policy objectives. It will also refrain from regulating when it determines that market forces create the appropriate and sustaining environment for competitive service offerings. At no time will the Commission refrain from regulating if it perceives that to do so would jeopardize customer confidentiality. An act of forebearance in an area of telecommunications service offerings does not signify that the Commission is walking away from the regulation of an industry — which is far from being governed by market forces in every area of Canada.

This particular decision applies specifically to IXPL services among the routes offered by Allstream, Bell West, EastLink, Navigata, Telus Quebec and Telus Corp. In 1997, the Commission decided not to regulate the same services offered by the large incumbent local exchange carriers, then known as the Stentor alliance (Bell Canada, MTS, SaskTel, Telus, BC Tel, NB Tel, MT&T and Newfoundland Tel).

The reasoning behind the CRTC’s choice of specific routes goes back to 1999, when the Commission determined that competition in the IXPL market was very much linked to the area served and that forebearance could only be considered when there is at least one competitor offering IXPL services at DS3 or greater speed. The Commission monitored the expansion of competitive IXPL services through annual reports filed with them by competitive service providers.

The final step to deregulating these route-specific IXPL services is for the incumbent carriers named in the decision to file revised tariffs without these services.

Competition in telecommunications services is creeping past the large centres and heavy traffic routes. At this rate, the Commission need not be concerned of putting itself out of business in the foreseeable future.

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