TekSavvy Demands Refund from Bell, Rogers After ‘Dubious’ Appeals Rejected by Court

TekSavvy is praising the Federal Court of Appeal decision yesterday to dismiss ‘dubious’ appeals from Canada’s large telcos, as the latter sought to overturn a CRTC wholesale internet rates decision.

This morning, the independent ISP released a statement saying it will “cease payments until CRTC-ordered rate correction and refund received in full.”

TekSavvy said it is demanding a refund from telcos such as Bell and Rogers. The company reiterated it had previously filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau, “detailing how Bell and Rogers deviated from CRTC-costing rules to inflate wholesale rates they charge competitors, while offering competing retail prices below the wholesale costs they had inflated.”

The company also said it also asked the federal government to ask the Competition Bureau to “investigate Bell and Rogers’ wholesale rate-fixing activities because it harms competition and keeps Internet prices artificially high at the expense of millions of Canadian consumers.”

“The FCA decision is a major step forward in the fight for fair Internet pricing for Canadians. The arguments of Bell and the other carriers have been revealed to be just more baseless tactics designed to stifle competition and keep prices high”, said Andy Kaplan-Myrth, VP of Regulatory and Carrier Affairs for TekSavvy, in an issued statement to iPhone in Canada.

TekSavvy says it is owed “tens of millions of dollars” by large carriers, based on the CRTC’s August 2019 rate decision and the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision.

“Every month, Bell and Rogers continue to game the system and their inflated wholesale rates continue to stifle competition and gouge consumers. TekSavvy expects that the CRTC will once again direct the large carriers to file updated tariffs with the corrected final rates and to refund monies owed, consistent with the CRTC’s prior direction before the Stay. Until that outstanding balance is paid, in full, TekSavvy will be applying the amounts owed, with interest, as a monthly credit on the wholesale fees charged by Bell and Rogers,” said TekSavvy in a press release.

Yesterday, the Competitive Network Operators of Canada (CNOC), which represents over 30 independents ISPs, said the court victory was a “major victory for Canadian consumers.”

“This is a massive win for Canadians, for competition and for affordable internet,” said Matt Stein, Chair of CNOC, in a statement. “This validates that the CRTC’s original rate correction struck the right balance between investment in Canadian consumers and service-based competition. Deserving consumers across Canada can look forward to the increased value and innovation that the CRTC’s original decision was designed to protect.”