Canada has a variety of ILECs (Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers), such as Telus (the result of mergers between BCTel, AGT, and EdTel), SaskTel, MTS, Bell Canada, Aliant (NBTel, IslandTel, MTT, and NewTel) and NorthWestTel. These companies all shared the enviable position of being legal (often government owned) monopolies during their early years. However, government regulations have introduced the concept of local competition into markets.

The regulations regarding local competition are designed to make the market, if not favourable, at least survivable to competitors. CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers) must be given a share of available floor space in central offices, and must have access to subscriber lines for the purposes of service provision. Also, customers must be able to transfer their telephone numbers from an ILEC account to a CLEC account.

Further handicapping the ILECs are regulations that force them to get CRTC approval of their service rates and terms of service for tariffed services. Tariffed services are considered to be vital, and areas where competition is lacking. Long distance, for instance, is non-tariffed, because there is no shortage of competition in this service. ILECs cannot discontinue tariffed service for nonpayment of nontariffed services. CLECs, on the other hand, do not have to provide tariff information, and are pretty well free to do as they please.

Despite the hurdles placed before them by the government, not a single portion of the country has seen the ILEC surpassed by a CLEC, and this does not seem to be likely to change anytime soon.

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