Regulation - LGIC

Enabling the enforceability of the Building Broadband Faster Act Guideline

Regulation Number(s):
TBD
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
Summary of Proposal:
In April 2021, the Legislative Assembly passed the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021. This legislation contained amendments to the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998. When proclaimed the amendments will allow the Ministry of Energy to develop regulations that can impose obligations on regulated entities for the use of, access to, or development of electricity infrastructure for reasons other than the generation, transmission, distribution, consumption, sale or demand management of electricity.

In line with the statement of intent published on November 30, 2021, the Ministry of Energy intends to propose a new regulation or regulations to support provisions of the Building Broadband Faster Act Guideline. The Guideline has also been released concurrently and is available to support project stakeholders with the timely and efficient delivery of provincial high-speed internet projects. The Guideline is intended to further reduce barriers, speed up broadband deployment and support the successful implementation of the Building Broadband Faster Act. The regulations proposed here would:
- Establish performance timeline standards for LDCs consistent with the Guideline.
- Articulate when and for what reasons timelines may be temporarily suspended by Local Distribution Companies (LDCs), and outline processes in order to expediently resolve the cause of that suspension, including mediation and, if required, orders for LDCs to resume work.
- In support of meeting these timelines, require that LDCs make good faith efforts to authorize ISP-identified competent persons and allow those competent persons access to distribution system assets where:
o the LDC is unable to conduct, or opts out of conducting, work within the established performance timelines; or
o the LDC does not provide an acceptable list of contractors that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) can use to conduct this work.
- Allow an LDC to refuse third party contractors where the ISP does not provide an indemnity of at least 120 days and/or refuses to pay reasonable costs for an LDC to inspect these assets within the same period.
- Require that LDCs provide and accept information/data to and from the Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation (Infrastructure Ontario) on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure for the purposes of facilitating the Broadband One Window platform, including but not limited to:
o providing geospatial information
o accepting applications for work
o providing updates on those applications, including approvals, when an ISP has elected to use the platform.
- Allow LDCs and ISPs to adopt processes that may differ from these regulations under certain conditions that maintain the objectives of broadband expansion.
- If required, articulate the role of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) in resolving disputes in a timely fashion, which may include orders to LDCs to complete work.
- If required, set out the process governing payment to LDCs related to make-ready costs, if such a process is not established through commercial arrangements or addressed by the Broadband Coordinator.

The Government expects that broadband stakeholders, those involved in designated broadband projects, will engage in good faith in a manner consistent with the spirit of partnership and collaboration. This framework proposes to set out the expectations to guide those relationships and identify opportunities for dispute resolution only when required.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
This framework would only apply to provincial broadband projects as designated by a regulation under the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021.

Compliance costs could arise from providing information to Infrastructure Ontario for the purposes of supporting a Broadband One Window platform, increased administrative costs with processing applications in a manner prescribed by timelines, costs associated with establishing a list of third-party contractors, among other obligations.

The Ministry requests that, if applicable, responding stakeholders submit their estimated costs that would be associated with complying with this regulatory framework. This information would inform a regulatory impact assessment.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
21-ENDM036
Posting Date:
December 1, 2021
Comments Due Date:
January 17, 2022
Contact Address:
Ministry of Energy
77 Grenville Street, 6th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2C1