OTTAWA, 27 May 2021 – Consumers likely will lose competitive service options and pay more for Internet as a result of today’s CRTC reconsideration of wholesale Internet rates, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) warned.
John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel, decried the decision, saying: “Both the CRTC and the federal government lost their nerve in dealing with the major Internet providers. They backed away from a fair wholesale rate that would have increased consumer choice and lowered internet prices for Canadian consumers.”
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision today is a reconsideration of a previous CRTC order that ordered major Internet service providers such as Bell Canada, TELUS and Rogers sell wholesale access to their networks to allow competitors to offer their own services at affordable rates. The CRTC had, in their first decision, set a much lower rate than the rate approved today. The CRTC also had ordered rebates to small Internet providers that had paid more than the first decision’s final rate – but today’s decision largely removed that part of the order.
The major Internet providers launched a three-pronged attack on the CRTC’s original order: appealing to the courts (which dismissed their case); petitioning the government; and asking the CRTC for today’s decision. The Petition to the government was dismissed but accompanied by language that the major Internet providers claimed may have helped direct the CRTC to increase the rate.
Lawford noted that without most of the previously ordered rate repayments and with today’s higher rates, consumers may see some of the smaller Internet providers, who typically offer cheaper Internet service, go out of business in the near future. “Consumers need affordable Internet more each day” noted Lawford. “But the government and the CRTC clearly were afraid to support competition during a pandemic and ahead of an election. They should fear consumer anger far more.”
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
613-562-4002 ext. 125 (New)
(613) 447-8125 (cell)
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