Bell says it will cut back on rural broadband program after CRTC rate cut

Bell says it will cut back on rural broadband program after CRTC rate cut
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MONTREAL — Bell Canada says it will cut about 200,000 rural households from a broadband internet build-out to offset the impact of a regulatory change that lowers the wholesale broadband rate that it can charge smaller providers.

The Montreal-based company says the final rates set last week by the CRTC will cost it more than $100 million, with the bulk of the sum going to cover the retroactively lower rates.

Bell says it will cut back on a rural internet program it committed to last year by some 20 per cent, or 200,000 households to compensate for the lower rates.

The regulator requires that large telecom companies sell access their infrastructure to smaller internet providers as a way to improve competition and lower prices.

After years of review, the CRTC set final rates last week of what the smaller providers would have to pay that were up to 77 per cent lower than the interim rates set in 2016.

The major telecom companies have long threatened that infrastructure investments could be impacted by lower broadband access rates.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE)

The Canadian Press

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