Independent internet service provider, TekSavvy, has announced it has filed a formal complaint with the Competition Bureau to investigate “a pattern of anti-competitive activities in wholesale and retail markets for Internet services” when it comes to Bell and Rogers.
According to TekSavvy’s press release, they allege “Bell and Rogers’ wholesale divisions drove up competitors’ costs, while Bell and Rogers’ retail divisions target those competitors with “fighting brand” retail prices below their wholesale costs – which Bell and Rogers wrongfully inflated.”
The complaint says Bell and Rogers, with their alleged “wholesale rate manipulation”, resulted in “higher retail prices for Internet services in Canada’s largest markets – costing millions of Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars.”
TekSavvy says is based on the “numerous findings of fact” by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which concluded, “Bell and Rogers deviated from its wholesale rate-setting rules 56 times between 2016 and 2019, systematically inflating rates for retail competitors of Bell and Rogers – in some cases by over 900%.”
Back in August 2019, the CRTC mandated major internet providers to retroactively lower their wholesale rates to 2016 levels, a move to increase competition. In September 2019, Bell and Rogers won a temporary stay in the Federal Court of Appeal in challenging the CRTC decision. Both incumbents also petitioned the federal cabinet to overrule the CRTC decision.
“These kind of anti-competitive activities are the reason why Canadians pay among the very highest prices for Internet and Mobile services in the world” said Janet Lo, VP Consumer Legal Affairs, in an issued statement. “Cabinet should not only reject the Petitions immediately but do everything in its power to see its policy goals met: Deliver lower Internet and cell phone bills and protect consumer interests.”