Canada’s major internet service providers have reacted to the CRTC’s broadband wholesale rates change with disappointment, with Eastlink and SaskTel now also expressing concern over the matter. The retroactive rate change was made to foster competition in the broadband market.
Eastlink told reporter Emily Jackson from The Financial Post it was “shocked and disappointed” by the CRTC decision and a “significant” financial impact is expected.
“This decision compromises the future of investment in internet networks and infrastructure across Canada,” said Eastlink executive vice-chair Lee Bragg to the Post.
The CRTC decision means Eastlink will be decreasing its wholesale rates by one-third.
SaskTel Similarly Disappointed in Rate Change
According to SaskTel, the company told the Post in a statement, “the CRTC seems focused on directing us to effectively give it away to resellers who will invest virtually nothing in the province and likely will not employ any Saskatchewan residents.”
SaskTel said the CRTC rate change may “severely impact” long-term expansion plans, suggesting rural expansion could be in jeopardy.
As for Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), the federal government says they remain on its path to connect Canadians.
“This will not distract from our government’s commitment to connect every Canadian to affordable high-speed internet by 2030, and I am confident new competitors will step up to make these investments,” said ISED Minister Navdeep Bains.
Bains also added, “We are deeply disappointed Bell is considering walking back its commitment to Canadians in rural and remote communities.”
Previously, Bell came out to say it would see a $100 million impact from the CRTC rate change, citing how it would pull back its rural expansion plans by 20%.
Rogers said it would take a $140 million impact this quarter due to retroactive payments, while Videotron, Shaw and Cogeco similarly expressed their disappointment in the CRTC decision, which will impact these companies in the millions they say.