In a massive blow to competition among Canadian telcos that invited unprecedented backlash from consumer groups, the CRTC ruled to reverse wholesale internet rates it lowered in 2019 back to the higher 2016 figures earlier this week.
According to a blog post from TekSavvy, the Chatham, Ontario, based regional telecommunications operator is now demanding that the Liberal government not only intervene and reinstate the evidence-based 2019 Rates Order designed to promote competition, but also fire Ian Scott, the current chair of the CRTC.
“We don’t urge the firing of a CRTC chair lightly, but in our view, Scott is not working in the interests of Canadians or a competitive telecommunications market,” says the company.
TekSavvy believes the former Telus lobbyist is leading Canada into a future with even more ridiculous wireless and internet rates. While Scott says that he doesn’t “buy the narrative” that they will go up, a recent report from the federal government has found that they already have.
Following the CRTC ruling, TekSavvy announced that it no longer had any plans to offer mobile service as the now-reversed rates make it impossible to do so. TekSavvy isn’t alone, and if the higher rates stay, more operators will be forced to walk away from the scene.
“Without wholesale ISPs keeping them in check, Big Telecom now has carte blanche to keep raising prices ad nauseum,” says the telco.
The CRTC itself introduced the Rates Order in 2019 to lower wholesale internet prices and encourage competition within the industry — a decision that was heavily contested by big telecom.
The CRTC’s final ruling on the matter, reverting wholesale internet rates back to 2016 levels, is the exact opposite of what the Rates Order was supposed to do and will hand “Big Telecom hundreds of millions of dollars in unfair charges”.
With independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile operators getting crushed underneath the weight of the significantly higher rates, Big Telecom will have a lot less competition to deal with, and the Canadian people a lot less options to choose from.