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Canada regulator will not lower broadband access fees, in blow to smaller firms

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Italy's economy ministry wants independent ultra-fast broadband network, says source – TheChronicleHerald.ca

Canada‘s telecoms regulator announced Thursday it would not significantly lower the rates that small companies must pay to access the high-speed broadband networks of larger rivals, ending years of legal battles and a bid to increase competition.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) granted smaller companies access to the networks in 2016 with interim rates that they had to pay larger companies.

The setup was intended to increase competition in Canada, which has among the highest internet and cellphone bills in the world, according to government studies.

Canada‘s telecoms industry is dominated by Telus, Rogers and BCE, which have 89.2% of subscribers and 90.7% of revenue, according to government figures.

In 2019, the agency agreed to lower rates but the move never went into effect due to legal challenges from the larger companies. Thursday’s ruling means the original 2016 rates remain in effect, with some small adjustments.

“The CRTC, run by a former Telus VP, just gave a giant middle finger to consumers, indie ISPs (internet service providers) and competition, and gave carte blanche to Bell, Rogers et al to raise our internet rates as much as they damn well want, ad infinitum,” Peter Nowak, a vice president at TekSavvy Solutions Inc, said on Twitter.

Bell, as BCE is known, said it was pleased with the “positive decision” from the CRTC.

Telus and Rogers were not immediately available for comment.

Francois-Philippe Champagne, federal minister for innovation, science and economic development, said the government “will be reviewing the decision and its implications to ensure they align with our policy priorities of affordability, competition and innovation in the sector.”

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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eBay Sells Classifieds Business For Nearly  Billion – WebProNews

EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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