CRTC Releases Finalized Wholesale Internet Rates for for Independent ISPs

The CRTC today has announced it has established final rates for wholesale internet used by independent internet service providers. The adjustments made mean independent ISPs will see “significant reductions” in the wholesale rates they are charged by larger telcos such as Rogers or Bell.

“Large and small independent service providers now have the certainty they need to continue offering Canadians a choice of innovative and competitive services,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “We are pleased to finally close this chapter after a careful examination of the wholesale rates, which included a review of the costing information.”

Telcos offering wholesale internet will now be required to use a single billing model to offer the same rates to business and residential customers, to enable a simpler billing process for independent ISPs. In the past some telcos charged various rates under different billing models for wholesale and residential business plans.

According to The Province, the following changes were made:

The commission approved an increase in the wholesale rates for Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Media Inc.-owned Videotron, and decreased the rates for Cogeco Inc.

It also approved “significantly lower” rates for certain BCE Inc.-owned Bell companies and Telus Communications Corp. in Alberta and British Columbia due to errors discovered in the companies’ costs studies.

The commission cut the monthly rate Bell companies in Ontario and Quebec can charge for 100Mbps of capacity to $1,036 from $2,213.

It also cut Telus wholesale flat rates in Albert and British Columbia, dropping the rate for speeds of 25 Mbps to $29.84 from $39.51 for example.

No changes were made to the wholesale rates for Bell Aliant in Atlantic Canada, MTS Inc. or SaskTel.

The CRTC explains final wholesale rates are determined by telco costs plus a “reasonable markup,” which enables these companies to recover costs for future network investments. As for consumer retail level internet services and packages, the CRTC does not approve them but does expect these changes to wholesale rates to make a significant difference in the retail market.

Just yesterday it was reported Rogers and Bell started to again offer options for unlimited internet, implemented and marketed prior to today’s CRTC announcement; however, in a statement Rogers said the offerings were not planned, merely coincidental and released in part due to consumer demand:

“Some people are linking the decision to offer unlimited with the CRTC decision today and in fact they aren’t linked,” she said. “[The] timing [is] perhaps coincidental but they’re not linked in any way.”