Government issues wholesale internet policy direction maintaining current internet rates

The policy comes a year after the CRTC reversed a 2019 decision that found wholesale internet rates were priced too high

Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada has proposed new policy directions to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) it says will improve competition in the telecom sector.

The new policy doesn’t impact wholesale internet rates currently in place or reinstate the CRTC’s 2019 finding that rates were too high and needed to be lowered. Instead, it focuses on a new set of ideas that the government says will support its efforts to be competitive and affordable.

Wholesale internet

The new policy will enhance wholesale internet access and competition for affordable internet services by requiring large companies to give competitors access to regulated rates, leading to more options for Canadians. The policy will also see larger companies make speeds demanded by Canadians available to internet service providers (ISPs) who can provide this. The CRTC is also directed to ensure wholesale internet access is available across all markets.

CRTC Chair Ian Scott said the 2019 decision was made in error and was reversed in 2021. This led to a number of petitions that challenged the move, including one by TekSavvy. The company launched a recent campaign telling Canadians the government had until May 27th to respond.

Mobile competition

The policy further directs the commission to make improvements to its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model. Wireless providers under MVNOs don’t own the infrastructure they use to provide services. Little detail is provided but the move is expected to improve wireless competition in a market controlled by the Big Three: Bell, Telus, and Rogers.