The CRTC today published its final decision on wholesale internet rates, in a ruling seen to favour big telecoms, as rates have now been reverted back to 2016 levels.
Back in August 2019, the CRTC announced new lower wholesale broadband rates, in an effort to promote competition. These wholesale rates are what major telecoms charge smaller internet service providers, to resell internet to customers.
Naturally, telecoms were upset about the CRTC lowering wholesale rates so they appealed them in court immediately. Back in February 2021, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal from big telecoms including the likes of Bell, Rogers and others, leaving the final appeal to the CRTC.
In the CRTC’s announcement today, it says the original August 2019 decision was made in error.
“During the review of wholesale rates for aggregated high-speed access services, the information provided on the record caused the CRTC to doubt the correctness of certain aspects of its August 2019 decision. With this decision the CRTC is adopting the interim rates, with adjustments, as the final rates,” reads a press release.
“Since 2016, the CRTC’s objective has been to complete the transition to a disaggregated wholesale model for access to the large companies’ high-speed broadband networks. This model will foster greater competition and further investments, so that the industry can better serve the needs of Canadians. Today’s decision will allow us to focus on that goal, while providing certainty in the marketplace for Internet service providers,” said Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC, in a statement.
As expected, the ruling did not sit well with smaller ISPs such as TekSavvy.
Former journalist Peter Nowak, now Vice-President of Insight & Engagement at TekSavvy, said, “The CRTC, run by a former Telus VP, just gave a giant middle finger to consumers, indie ISPs and competition, and gave carte blanche to Bell, Rogers et al to raise our internet rates as much as they damn well want, ad infinitum. This is outrageous and shall not stand.”
Michael Geist said, “The whiplash at the CRTC is incredible. From a pro-consumer, pro-competition chair in Jean-Pierre Blais to possibly the most anti-consumer CRTC chair in its history in Ian Scott.”
The whiplash at the CRTC is incredible. From a pro-consumer, pro-competition chair in Jean-Pierre Blais to possibly the most anti-consumer CRTC chair in its history in Ian Scott. https://t.co/PrIXul2hgK
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) May 27, 2021
The end result is internet prices will go up from smaller ISPs such as TekSavvy, Distributel and others, meaning consumers will pay more for internet.