TekSavvy Calls Out CRTC: Internet Carriers “Gaming System” to Block Competition

According to wholesale Internet service provider, TekSavvy, Canada’s incumbent Internet service providers are “gaming the system” to prevent competition, and it wants the CRTC to take action immediately.

The Canadian Network Operators Consortium today filed an application to the CRTC today, urging a fix to the regulatory environment. TekSavvy is a member of the CNOC, which is wrapping up its annual summit today in Toronto, Ontario.

“We need to fix the system that is allowing large telephone and cable companies to increase costs, reduce competition and eliminate consumer choice,” warned Matt Stein, President & Chairman, in an issued statement to iPhone in Canada. “Canadians deserve competitive choice, regardless of what wire connects to their home, or the speed of Internet they want.”

According to Janet Lo, TekSavvy’s VP, Privacy & Consumer Legal Affairs, she says “The large carriers are gaming the system to block consumer choice,” adding “The large carriers use the same playbook on every customer, whether it’s their wholesale customer, like TekSavvy, or their own retail customers. The large carriers overbilled wholesale customers like TekSavvy for years. Now, consumers are without choice while the large carriers benefit off their new fibre broadband monopoly.”

Back in 2015, the CRTC outlined rules for smaller ISPs to access to acquire wholesale high-speed Internet from incumbent fibre networks. But in 2018, TekSavvy says they “remain shut out” from these higher speeds because of “unreasonable rates” charged by incumbent providers.

“If our customers want higher speeds, they’re forced to leave TekSavvy and switch to Bell or Rogers. Something is very wrong with this picture. We’re asking the CRTC to fix it – pronto!” said Marc Gaudrault, TekSavvy’s CEO, in a statement.

The CNOC’s filing today to the CRTC says large carriers “overbilled smaller competitors more than $300 million that has not yet been returned.”

“The gaming needs to be stopped. Competitors’ investments and jobs are already in jeopardy,” said Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s VP, Regulatory & Carrier Affairs. “We need immediate action by the CRTC to restore consumer choice. To do that, they need to fix proper rates, provide an interim path to higher speeds for consumers who choose competitors, and return overbilled money to small competitors.”

Do you think the CRTC is doing its job in enforcing wholesale Internet rates? Sounds like we’re hearing the same story over and over here…