TekSavvy Asks CRTC for Fair Wholesale Rates at Hearing

TekSavvy made a compelling case for the need to adjust wholesale internet rates to ensure fair competition and consumer choice, speaking at the CRTC public hearing that’s been ongoing this week.

Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s VP of Regulatory and Carrier Affairs, alongside Pierre Aube, Chief Operating Officer, and Jessica Rutledge, Director of Regulatory and Consumer Legal Affairs, presented their arguments today.

Kaplan-Myrth opened the session by emphasizing the hearing’s significance for TekSavvy, which has been operating for over 25 years and offers services across all ten provinces. He highlighted the company’s reliance on a wholesale-based model, which has been jeopardized by the current regulatory framework, leading to a loss of over 100,000 subscribers.

Aube pointed out the dire situation for independent ISPs in Canada, pointing at the decline of meaningful competition to unfavourable wholesale rates set in 2021 and the lack of access to essential technology like Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP). “The business case for wholesale has nearly been extinguished under the current regulatory framework,” Aube stated.

TekSavvy criticized the preservation of wholesale rates at 2016 levels despite a global decrease in the cost of delivering internet services. The company argued that the current rates hinder wholesale competitors from realizing cost savings, thereby maintaining retail prices above competitive levels. “Canadians have not reaped the real benefits of declining costs of delivering broadband the way the rest of the world has,” said Rutledge.

The ISP also addressed the lack of wholesale access to fibre, nothing that this limitation severely restricts competition and innovation in the broadband market. They called for the CRTC to enforce its speed-matching rule evenly and to consider interim adjustments to wholesale rates–to stop competitors from being stranded on outdated rates.

In the end, TekSavvy urged the CRTC to prioritize the revision of wholesale rates and access policies to enable fair competition and to offer Canadians more affordable and diverse internet service options. “We need significant reductions to the wholesale rates and we need them critically,” Kaplan-Myrth concluded, expressing TekSavvy’s readiness to expand its service offerings and compete fairly in the broadband market.

Earlier this week, Rogers asked for wholesale internet mandates to be phased out, while Bell argued for fibre access limits and Telus said it would wait for CRTC decisions to be made, before finalizing its stance on wholesale.

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