On December 15, 2017, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) published a Notice of Consultation in connection with its upcoming review of non-carrier (i.e., telecommunications reseller) registration obligations. The Notice of Consultation requests input from interested parties as to which types of resellers should be exempt from the obligation to register with the CRTC prior to receiving telecommunications services for resale.

In Canada, resellers offering and providing one or more of the following services are required to register with the CRTC (in addition to certain other regulatory obligations):

  • Interexchange services
  • Local exchange services (also known as local telephone services)
  • Wireless voice services
  • Local voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
  • Internet access services
  • Payphone services.

In the Notice of Consultation, the CRTC re-affirms that resellers of the services listed above are required to register with the CRTC. However, the CRTC also notes that it has received a large number of inquiries and registration applications from providers of other types of services seeking clarification as to whether or not the registration obligation applies to them. These included, for instance, providers of machine-to-machine services (e.g., alarm systems, parking meters and Global Positioning Systems (GPS)), and providers of private Wi-Fi connections (such as those in coffee shops, airports and other similar public spaces).

The CRTC’s call for comments is therefore aimed at clarifying the regulatory framework applicable to reseller of telecommunications services. In particular, the CRTC asks interested parties to:

  1. Comment on which entities should be exempt from the registration obligation and why
  2. Explain the factors that the CRTC should consider when determining whether a given entity should be exempt from the registration obligation.

The CRTC indicates that as part of the consultation, it could modify the existing registration obligation or impose additional registration obligations on some, or all, Canadian telecommunications carriers and non-carriers. As such, the consultation is relevant to existing and potential telecommunications carriers, resellers and other service providers who believe their services may be captured by the scope of the reseller registration obligation and related requirements.

Initial comments in response to the Notice of Consultation are due by January 30, 2018.