BCE petitions Trudeau government to overrule CRTC on wholesale network rates


OTTAWA — BCE Inc. has asked the Trudeau cabinet to prevent the industry’s federal regulator from slashing the wholesale rates that Canada’s large telecommunications networks can charge smaller rivals for access to their networks.

The Montreal-based company warns there will be serious negative consequences for investments by Canada’s industry if network owners aren’t able to charge a higher wholesale price to smaller internet service providers.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued its decision on wholesale rates in August after several years of detailed study and prolonged lobbying by the rival companies and industry groups.

That decision is being challenged at the Federal Court of Appeal by most of the country’s large cable network operators including Rogers, Videotron and Shaw, as well as BCE, which is the owner of Bell Canada, Bell MTS and Bell Aliant.

BCE’s latest tactic — an approach to the prime minister and his ministers through a petition to the “governor in council” — asks them to overrule the CRTC’s new rates and order a review of its approach to setting wholesale rates.

The petition comes about a week before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to announce the makeup of his new cabinet, following a hard-fought national election that reduced the Liberals to a minority government.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE)