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Archived - Technical Glossary - Wholesale Services Decision

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Wholesale agreements

The telecommunications industry in Canada is supported by a wholesale services framework that sets out the rates, terms, and conditions under which the incumbent carriers are required to make parts of their respective networks available to competitors.

Wholesale services are used by competitors to provide Internet, television and telephone services to their retail customers.

Essential Services Test

The essential services test, along with policy considerations, informs the CRTC’s decision whether to mandate a particular wholesale service.

To be essential, a facility, function, or service must satisfy all of the following conditions:

  • it is required as an input by competitors to provide telecommunications services in a relevant downstream (i.e. retail) market;
  • it is controlled by a firm that possesses upstream (i.e. wholesale) market power such that withdrawing mandated access, or denying access to the facility would likely result in substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the downstream (retail) market; and
  • it is not practical or feasible to duplicate the functionality of the facility.

ILEC (Incumbent local exchange carrier)

ILECs are the large telephone companies: Bell, Bell Aliant, MTS, SaskTel and Telus. They are the among the dominant Internet service providers in Canada, accounting for over 35% of the retail Internet access revenue market.

Cablecos (Cable companies)

The Cablecos are the large cable companies: Cogeco, Eastlink, Videotron, Rogers and Shaw. Cable companies own almost 55% of the total market.

Competitors (also known as independent ISPs)

Competitors are non-incumbent service providers, such as Distributel, Fibernetics, Primus and Teksavvy that rely on ILEC or Cableco wholesale services in order support their own respective retail service offerings. There are hundreds of such providers operating in all regions of the country, and their market share has risen steadily over the years, such that they now account for almost 10% of the retail Internet access revenue market.

 FTTP (Fibre to the premises)

Optical fibre cables allow telecommunications transmissions over long distances and high data rates. FTTP facilities bring optical fibre directly to a customer’s home or building (often referred to as fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) facilities, respectively).

Aggregated wholesale HSA service

Provides competitors with high-speed paths to end-customers’ premises throughout an incumbent carrier’s entire operating territory from a limited number of interfaces (e.g. one interface per province). This path includes an access component, a transport component, and the interface component.

Disaggregated wholesale HSA service

Provides similar functionality as aggregated wholesale HSA services to end customers, but limits the portion leased from incumbent carriers to the access component (e.g. the last mile of the network). As such, it requires competitors to interconnect with incumbent carriers within each local region (i.e. ILEC central office or Cableco head-end) where it wishes to offer competitive services. Competitors are also required to invest in or lease transport facilities from each local region to bring data traffic onto their own networks.

Broadband access service (BAS)

Over the course of the proceeding, disaggregated wholesale HSA services were referred to as broadband access services.

TPIA (Third-Party Internet Access)

TPIA service is the commonly used name for the cable carriers’ aggregated wholesale HSA service.


Ethernet is a set of rules used for networking. It enables the transmission of broadband data between two or more locations.

Local loop

Copper access facility connecting an individual customer premise to an ILEC central office.

ULL (unbundled local loops)

Unbundled local loops refer to the copper access facility between a home and a central office that is made available to competitors on a wholesale basis. It can be used by a competitor to provide services such as voice or lower-speed Internet.


An arrangement allowing competitors to provide their own transmission facilities to, and within, an ILEC’s central office building. It is required for competitors to obtain access to local loops.

CDN (competitor digital network)

CDN refers to dedicated digital access and transport services that the ILECs have been required to provide on a wholesale basis. High speed CDN services have now been forborne. Low speed CDN services continue to be mandated.

Transport facilities

They are facilities that interconnect ILEC central offices or Cableco head-ends to other areas further away in the network, such as where competitor terminating equipment is located.

Decision at a glance:

Currently mandated wholesale services:

  • Unbundled Local loops
  • ILECs’ aggregated wholesale HSA service
  • Cable carriers aggregated wholesale HSA service (also known as TPIA) service
  • Interconnection services
  • Public good services

Wholesale services mandated as a result of this decision:

  • ILEC and Cableco disaggregated wholesale HSA services
  • FTTP access facilities
  • Interconnection services
  • Public good services

Wholesale services that are no longer mandated or that remain forborne:

  • Unbundled local loops
  • Ethernet access and transport services
  • High-speed CDN access and transport services

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