OpenMedia’s comments on federal cabinet decision in wholesale Internet rates appeal
“We’re disappointed to see Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains side with Canada’s telecom giants. In no way does this morning’s decision help improve Internet affordability, despite Minister Bains long promising it to be a priority.”– OpenMedia Executive Director Laura Tribe
August 15, 2020 – In a decision released early this morning, the federal cabinet has declined to overrule a 2019 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC) decision to lower the wholesale rates charged by the large, incumbent telecom providers to smaller, independent Internet service providers. In August 2019 the CRTC found that large providers had been overcharging small, wholesale-based providers by as much as 77% since 2016.
Responding to today’s news, OpenMedia Executive Director Laura Tribe had this to say:
“We’re disappointed to see Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains side with Canada’s telecom giants. In no way does this morning’s decision help improve Internet affordability, despite Minister Bains long promising it to be a priority. Let’s be perfectly clear on what’s happening here: the government has effectively told the CRTC that they expect the rates to go up because they’re worried about investment. But these increases will most certainly be passed along to customers. If Minister Bains actually cares about network investment, then he and Rural Economic Development Minister Maryam Monsef should get on with it and release their much-delayed $1.7 Billion Universal Broadband Fund.”
Tribe continued: “Minister Bains talks a good game about affordability, but it seems that’s all it is – talk. Two weeks ago we learned that cell phone prices have not come down, despite repeated promises from the government. Today we see a government decision that will inevitably lead to higher Internet prices for Canadians. This is not what’s needed right now. Canadians and small, independent Internet service providers are already on the ropes due to COVID-19. Internet users across the country have lost their jobs, and small ISPs are fighting for their lives at the Federal Court and CRTC. We need bold action to help Canadians and promote choice and affordability – not weak, half-measures that maintain the status quo and put small providers at risk.”
OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.