Interventions Phase 2: Intervenor 528

Document Name: 2015-134.226900.2519065.Interventions Phase 2(1hzq101!).html

Rural pricing and quality is nowhere near the capabilities of those of urban residents. While data caps have increased significantly, bandwidth is poor. Residents in rural northern communities still pay significantly more for significantly less. While fibre optic networks have expanded to some in the ****, many are still connected through microwave relay or even slower satellite options. As well, while Northwestel was stripped of its monopoly over local telephone services, Northwestel still maintains an effective monopoly in many other areas. Costs of infrastructure development are high and it is not always feasible for others to enter the market. As well, there is no obligation for service providers to share their networks with other providers. As well, given the existing networks, including fire optic networks, Northwestel is able to monopolize the connections of northern residents to the rest of the country. In my community, despite increases in data caps, bandwidth remains fixed at 5mpbs via DSL, essentially unchanged from 7 years ago and service outages are frequent. Local governments also provide a disproportionate number of contracts favouring Northwestel. The proposed **** Highway and **** Valley fibre optic links do absolutely nothing to expand competition and help to bolster what is effectively a closed market in the ****. Even these new networks will not extend fibre optic to every community along the Yukon's major highway systems. Fibre optic lines do not extend for the entire length of the Alaska Highway and currently end in **** Junction, YT with no plans to extend them further.3G/4G service is also slow to expand. While more major communities are upgrading to LTE, upgrading by Bell Mobility in some areas has still not progressed to HSPA, already an older, slower technology. Again, infrastructure costs in the **** are cost prohibitive for new entrants to the markets and there is no obligation for current providers to share resources.If governments wish to keep people in small isolated communities, for sovereignty reasons, for national security reasons, to allow groups such as First Nations communities to exercise their traditional practices, it needs to ensure levels of service in an increasingly connected work are sufficient. If these services cannot be provided cost effectively by private parties, governments should take a more active role. If government chooses to continue a regulated free market approach it needs to encourage more competition while recognizing that years of legal monopolies have allowed monopoly service providers to dominate the market and the telecommunications infrastructure and, that trying to match (let alone exceed) that infrastructure is extremely costly for new entrants. For example, while the CRTC ended the monopoly Northwestel had over local telephone service in 2011, there has been no significant entrance of new providers. Who will think its cost effective to provide local telephone service in communities of just over 100 people? Who will install new infrastructure without the benefit of a legal monopoly that Northwestel was able to enjoy for so long? As a result while legal monopolies may no longer exist, monopolies in effect remain. Governments gave exorbitant powers to Northwestel for so long (and still continue to favour them) that merely revoking monopolies will do little to foster competition.