CRTC asks Rogers for details of network-sharing deal with Quebecor

·1 min read

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has asked Rogers Communications Inc. to provide details of its network-sharing arrangements with Quebecor Inc. by April 11.

The review in question comes after the regulator received a filing from TekSavvy Solutions Inc. that alleges a deal between Rogers and Quebecor’s Vidéotron violates a section of the Telecommunications Act, as the discounted rates Rogers would offer Vidéotron to lease its broadband network aren’t available to independent ISPs.

Rogers made the arrangement with Vidéotron as part of the divestiture of Freedom Mobile, a side deal that is key to Rogers’ proposed $26-billion merger transaction with Shaw Communications Inc. The deadline to close its takeover of Shaw was extended to March 31 from Feb. 17 as the companies await a key approval from the federal government.

“The CRTC’s timing is equally interesting ahead of the coming outside date of March 31. We’ve seen other regulatory files seemingly fast-tracked in recent weeks, like the TPIA announcement on March 8,” Adam Shine, an analyst for National Bank of Canada, wrote in a March 24 note to clients.

The regulator had requested similar information from BCE Inc. when it purchased Ebox in 2022, Shine noted.

In response to claims made by TekSavvy, Rogers said last month that its wholesale agreements with Vidéotron are not unduly preferential and allegations that they are have no basis, requesting the regulator deny the independent internet service provider’s application to review their deal.

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