CRTC Starts Flexing by Lowering Wholesale Internet Rates, Will Review Competition

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced it is launching a review of the internet market, starting with a public consultation focused on increasing competition, creating more choices for consumers, and lowering prices.

At the same time, the telecom regulator also lowered select internet wholesale rates by 10%, effective immediately, until it concludes its review.

In 2019, the CRTC lowered the rates that smaller internet service providers (ISPs) pay larger telcos for access to their networks. However, the decision was (controversially) reversed in 2021, hiking wholesale internet rates back up to 2016 levels.

In today’s announcement, the CRTC noted that it “recognizes its current approach is not meeting its objective of encouraging more competition in the Internet services market.”

As such, the regulator plans to re-examine these wholesale internet rates. This comes after a major leadership change at the CRTC, with Vicky Eatrides, taking over as chair and CEO of the regulator from Ian Scott in January.

“The CRTC is taking immediate action to promote competition in the Internet services market. This starts today with a 10 percent reduction on some wholesale rates,” said Eatrides.

“We look forward to hearing from everyone who will participate in our public proceeding so that we can strike the right balance between lower prices and continued investment in high-quality and reliable networks.”

Eatrides previously said that she wants to address the lack of competition in the internet services market, and also work on wireless pricing.

As part of the public consultation. the CRTC will also evaluate, on an expedited basis, if larger telcos should be required to give competitors access to their fibre-to-the-home networks, enabling faster internet speeds to end users.

The CRTC is accepting comments until April 24, 2023, on whether or not fibre-to-the-home network access should be mandatory. For all other issues that fall within the scope of the regulator’s review, comments are open until June 22, 2023. Those interested can submit their comments by:

  • Filling out the online form.
  • Writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2.
  • Sending a fax to 819-994-0218.

Last month, the CRTC launched a separate public consultation on improving the resilience and reliability of Canada’s telecom networks.