Two applications by\u00a0Northwestel Inc. asking the CRTC to exempt two services from regulation in the area it covers have been denied by the regulator. The\u00a0BCE Inc.\u00a0subsidiary, in partnership with Ledcor Developments Ltd. to form Northern Lights General Partnership (NLGP), had won a 20-year contract to operate and maintain services for the Government of Northwest Territories\u2019 Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link (MVFL) network and later sought in a Part 1 to have the CRTC stop regulating the service fees it charges the government to operate the network. Northwestel argued in its application earlier this month that CRTC forbearance criteria are pegged on factors including the likelihood of entry of other companies in the market. It pointed to the competitive bidding process \u2014 involving eight companies vying for the single-company contract \u2014 as evidence of \u201cpractical substitutes,\u201d arguing there should be no concern on the part of Northwest Territories government about the costs of switching suppliers at the end of the contract. \u201cThere is clear evidence of available supply from alternative sources,\u201d the company said in the application. \u201cSince the contract is a twenty year commitment, there is also no concern about the ability of other firms during the length of the contract to respond to supply conditions.\u201d It argued that the relevant criteria for competition shouldn\u2019t be market share of the contract, but the territorial government\u2019s \u201cability to receive competitive bids for operating the MVFL system.\u201d In denying the application in a decision\u00a0Thursday, the CRTC said that there was insufficient evidence proving that the \u201clevel of competition\u00a0in the provision of operation and maintenance services for the MVFL network facilities will protect the interests of users of these services in the MVFL communities.\u201d It noted that because the company will have 100 per cent of the market share during the 20-year period, it is not possible to assess current demand and supply conditions since no substitutes exist and relying solely on the bidding process is not sufficient. The CRTC also rejected Northwestel\u2019s request for the commission to exempt its Wholesale Connect service in the same region based on similar reasoning \u2014 that competition is currently insufficient to do so, considering the MVFL network is the only alternative to that service and noting the company\u2019s relationship with that network as complicating the market power analysis. In its Part 1 addressing Wholesale Connect, Northwestel said the MVFL\u2019s lower rates would likely attract service providers, making it \u201cworkably competitive.\u201d It added under a CRTC forbearance framework, it can grant forbearance when there are two or more facilities in the wholesale transport market \u2014 in this case, transport services for voice, internet and data services to residents and businesses. On this point, Northwestel said that it does not control the transport facilities provided by the MVFL network, which makes its Wholesale Connect a competitor. The regulator had previously\u00a0rejected\u00a0the company\u2019s Part 1\u00a0application\u00a0to revise rates it set for its Wholesale Connect service.