One of the biggest problems contributing to Canada’s expensive Internet services is a lack of choice. So last year, when the CRTC lowered the rates that smaller providers had to pay to provide Internet services, this was a huge win. It supported more competition and choice – AND, those lower rates were immediately passed on to customers. 3
But Big Telecom has fought tooth and nail against the decision ever since, filing simultaneous appeals in court, at the CRTC, and to federal cabinet, all hoping to get it reversed.
And on August 15, the first appeal was returned, as cabinet finally ruled on the petition. 4 They declined to rule on Big Telecom’s petition calling for a full reversal of the CRTC’s rates, but disagreed with the results of the CRTC’s considered decision — the government is worried low rates will “undermine investment”, a decades-old Big Telecom threat they use to shut down any effort to rein them in.
This two-faced decision sends a clear message to the CRTC that undermines its duty to make an independent decision on the rates, and unreasonably influences the outcome of their appeal. In effect, they’re telling the CRTC to figure out for themselves how to make Big Telecom happy.
Above all else, this decision ultimately ensures that your Internet prices are going to go up. Which is the exact opposite of what this government keeps claiming to want to do.
Minister Bains has just given a green light for Internet prices to go up – and at the worst possible time: during a global pandemic and economic crisis that is already driving some Canadians to give up food to pay for their Internet.
But Minister Bains represents all of us, not just corporate lobbyists. We need to be loud, and remind him his job is to ensure people have affordable Internet – NOT to protect the Big Telecom’s bottom line.