Internet prices in Canada: CRTC lowers some rates

Toronto –

Canada’s National Telecommunications Regulator has cut some wholesale Internet rates by 10% to initiate a review aimed at increasing competition and reducing consumer costs.

Canada’s Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission said Wednesday it recognizes that current approaches are not encouraging enough competition in the sector.

That review examines what smaller competitors pay major carriers for network access.

The regulator will also investigate whether the latter should offer its smaller competitors access to its fiber-to-home network to improve internet speeds for its customers.

CRTC Chairman and CEO Vicky Eatrides said in a press release:

In 2021, regulators reverse a two-year-old decision to cut wholesale internet rates. This is because the major carriers argued that lowering rates would hurt sales.

Companies such as Rogers and Bell argue that expanding network infrastructure is a significant cost that independent companies cannot afford, and that price cuts could limit their ability to invest in wireless and Internet services in rural areas. says.

Last month, Minister of Industry François-Philippe Champagne instructed agencies to implement new rules to strengthen consumer rights, affordability, competition and universal access. This included a requirement for improvements in wholesale internet rates.

Champagne told reporters Wednesday that the regulator’s announcement was “in the spirit” of policies communicated by Ottawa. One tool in the toolbox of

“We are determined to keep prices down in Canada and I think the new directive is paying off for Canadians,” he said.

Canada’s major telecommunications companies have halted operations. Rogers declined to comment, but said BCE Inc. is considering a decision.

Telus Corp. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Canada’s competitive network operator, which represents independent internet providers such as Distributel and VMedia, said in a statement that it encouraged the CRTC to “take swift action to address a broken competitive landscape.” said it is.

CNOC executive director Geoff White said in an emailed statement, “This year will be a split year for the home internet race, and the CRTC and its new chair have recognized the importance of this issue. I am happy to be here,” he said. .

We are also pleased that the Minister of Industry of Champagne has made very clear his expectation that the CRTC will improve consumer competition. “

Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekkSavvy’s vice president of regulation and telecoms business, also welcomed the review, noting that “because of policies enacted by the regulator’s former leaders,” independent Internet service providers’ “There is a desperate need for urgent action” following the acquisition, he said.

“The CRTC appears to understand that its previous decisions have weakened the competitive market for Internet services and led to higher prices for consumers,” Kaplan-Myrth said in a statement.

“Additional interim rate cuts are needed to have a meaningful impact, but we are pleased that we are moving quickly, with the right focus to increase competition and improve pricing.”

Canadians can participate in the review by submitting feedback through the CRTC website, by writing to the agency’s executive director, or by faxing feedback until June 22nd.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on March 8, 2023.

CTV News is a division of Bell Media, part of BCE Inc.

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