TekSavvy Asks CRTC to Lower Internet Rates During COVID-19 Pandemic

Chatham, Ontario-based TekSavvy has asked the CRTC to “take immediate action to ensure the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who use independent Internet service providers (ISPs) continue to be able to access these services during the COVID-19 crisis,” details a new press release.

According to TekSavvy, as more Canadians are at home using more internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has to “pay inflated fees to the big Canadian telecoms,” under the existing wholesale rate structure.

TekSavvy has laid off 130 employees due to COVID-19 and the wholesale internet rates it is paying. It also has a $5/month rate increase coming set for May.

TekSavvy is echoing a message from Member of Parliament, Michelle Rempel Garner, as she called the federal government to safeguard competitive internet access for Canadians.

“Independent ISPs already pay inflated rates but the pressures of COVID-19 have made our costs impossible to meet,” said Andy Kaplan-Myrth, VP of Regulatory & Carrier Affairs at TekSavvy, in an issued statement. “The government has the solution right in front of it: the CRTC already calculated more reasonable rates in their August 2019 rate decision.”

TekSavvy says it has also asked then CRTC to look into “unilateral changes that the big Canadian carriers are making to regulated processes for ordering, service installations and repairs,” specifically possible “undue commercial advantages to their retail services through the uneven application of stricter COVID-19 procedures.”

The company wants the CRTC to put emergency provisions in place, to set final rates from the Commission’s August 2019 decision, which is currently in limbo as telecoms have appealed the decision, which is ongoing in court.

“TekSavvy has always supported fair prices for Canadians,” it adds, and now it is up to the CRTC “to ensure that fairness and stability are maintained through this health crisis,” to allow for independent ISPs to continue offering internet for customers coast to coast.