Enabling the Use of Electricity Infrastructure for Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan
O. Reg. 791/21
O. Reg. 842/21
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
Summary of Decision:
Enabling the Use of Electricity Infrastructure for Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan (21-ENDM011) was posted on Ontario's Regulatory Registry from May 3, 2021 to June 17, 2021. The input from the proposal informed two regulations.
O. Reg. 791/21: Definitions and Exemptions under Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 was made on July 29, 2021 and filed on November 25, 2021
O. Reg. 842/21: Electricity Infrastructure (PART VI.1 of the Act) under Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 was made on December 9, 2021 and filed on December 10, 2021.
This consultation informed two regulations. O. Reg. 791/21 will enable Hydro One to undertake a broadband pilot project in Brighton, Ontario. O. Reg. 842/21 resulted in the Ontario Energy Board reducing the wireline pole attachment charge and will result in local distribution companies (LDCs) considering internet service provider (ISP) needs in their long-term capital plans.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
These regulations are expected to reduce costs for ISPs to deliver broadband to all Ontarians by 2025 and potentially reveal opportunities for ISPs and LDCs to collaborate on asset plans and future growth. Neither regulation resulted in increased costs for not-for-profit businesses, including ISPs. Reasonable costs incurred by LDCs may be eligible for recovery through electricity rates, so LDCs will bare no administrative costs. Any increase in rates is expected to be minimal. Ontarians and Ontario businesses across the province are expected to benefit from the Government's accelerated broadband strategy.
May 3, 2021
Summary of Proposal:
The 2021 Budget commits a historic new investment of $2.8 billion in broadband infrastructure to ensure that every region in the province has access to reliable high-speed broadband services by 2025. Combined with prior commitments, the new funding announced in the 2021 Budget increases Ontario's overall investment in broadband to nearly $4 billion over six years beginning 2019-2020.
Ontario's local distribution companies (LDCs) deliver electricity safely and reliably to customers every day. Many of the assets owned by LDCs - such as electricity poles - can be used to support other infrastructure, including broadband. Recent amendments to the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 will allow the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines to develop regulations to support the use of electricity infrastructure in order to expedite the delivery of broadband across the province by 2025.
Regulatory action to support the initiative may include setting the wireline pole attachment charge or amending the cost allocation methodology for setting the wireline pole attachment charge. This charge ensures that carriers attaching to poles pay an appropriate share of the cost of buying, installing and maintaining poles.
Other regulatory actions could include the apportionment and treatment of the costs to make electricity infrastructure ready for broadband assets, ensuring that broadband expansion is considered in LDC capital planning, setting service standards for LDC response time in facilitating broadband attachment requests, and enabling broadband pilot projects.
77 Grenville St., 6th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2C1
January 1, 2022