CRTC Lowers Wholesale Broadband Internet Rates to Promote Competition

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced this afternoon the lowering of wholesale rates for broadband Internet, which it says will foster competition.

Smaller Internet service providers pay wholesale rates to access existing high-speed networks of established major players in Canada, then resell them to customers at favourable rates.

The CRTC says in 2016 it revised interim wholesale rates as those suggested by major Internet providers were deemed unreasonable. The new final rates made today “are lower than the interim rates and retroactive to the date they were set in 2016.” This means users paying rates since 2016 may see a refund from their smaller ISP.

“The monthly capacity rates are 15% to 43% lower than the interim rates. As for the access rates, they are 3% to 77% lower than the interim rates,” explained the CRTC in a press release.

“As the demand for faster broadband speeds grows, we are putting measures in place to ensure Canada’s Internet market remains dynamic. The final rates we set today will foster increased choice at more affordable prices while encouraging a more robust and competitive marketplace across Canada,” said Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC, in a statement.

Reaction to the announcement was called “good news” by non-profit and consumer advocate, OpenMedia. However, more needs to be done to make Internet more affordable, explains OpenMedia.

“Today’s decision is a much overdue step towards lowering the bar for smaller ISPs to provide affordable Internet access in Canada. It’s no secret that Canadians have been paying too much for their Internet for way too long, and today’s decision is proof that Big Telecom has been holding the market hostage, gouging smaller providers for years. But these new rates bring us one step closer to seeing more affordable Internet available through a wider choice of providers,” said OpenMedia’s executive director Laura Tribe, in a statement.

Fibre wholesale rates are still unavailable, explains OpenMedia, but says today’s move by the CRTC “hopefully this paves the way for more affordable rates to come.”

A very timely announcement made by the CRTC, with a federal election just around the corner.

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