Posted Thursday November 8, 2018

Digital Pipeline

TekSavvy Asks CRTC to Ensure Meaningful Consumer Choice

Large carriers gaming system to shut out competition

TekSavvy Solutions Inc. calls on the CRTC to ensure meaningful consumer choice for high-speed Internet services.

“The large carriers are gaming the system to block consumer choice,” said Janet Lo, TekSavvy’s VP, Privacy & Consumer Legal Affairs. “The large carriers use the same playbook on every customer, whether it’s their wholesale customer, like TekSavvy, or their own retail customers. The large carriers overbilled wholesale customers like TekSavvy for years. Now, consumers are without choice while the large carriers benefit off their new fibre broadband monopoly.”

In 2015, the CRTC set out rules allowing smaller Internet service providers to buy wholesale access to the large carriers’ fibre networks, so that Canadians can choose their broadband provider and benefit from competition.

Yet more than three years later, competitors like TekSavvy remain shut out from higher speeds due to unreasonable rates proposed by the incumbents.

“If our customers want higher speeds, they’re forced to leave TekSavvy and switch to Bell or Rogers. Something is very wrong with this picture. We’re asking the CRTC to fix it - pronto!” said Marc Gaudrault, TekSavvy’s CEO.

In October 2016, the CRTC rebuked the large carriers for breaking its rate-setting rules. According to a regulatory application filed today by TekSavvy’s industry association, the Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc., the large carriers overbilled smaller competitors more than $300 million that has not yet been returned.

The CRTC found that wholesale rates are grossly inflated by the large carriers when they ignore proper costing principles. Today, brazenly, they continue to manufacture new ways to inflate costs, even when given clear direction from the CRTC otherwise.

“The gaming needs to be stopped. Competitors’ investments and jobs are already in jeopardy,” said Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s VP, Regulatory & Carrier Affairs. “We need immediate action by the CRTC to restore consumer choice. To do that, they need to fix proper rates, provide an interim path to higher speeds for consumers who choose competitors, and return overbilled money to small competitors,” added Kaplan-Myrth.

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