07 Nov, 2018, 05:00 ET
Negative consumer impact on choice, access and price
Large incumbents working to reduce competition. CRTC application seeking regulatory repair filed today
TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2018 /CNW/ - The Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc. (CNOC) announced that it has filed an application with the CRTC to repair the regulatory environment, which directly affects how many Canadians have access to affordable high-speed Internet at the increasingly high speeds they are demanding.
High-speed Internet competition under threat
"We need to fix the system that is allowing large telephone and cable companies to increase costs, reduce competition and eliminate consumer choice," warned Matt Stein, President & Chairman. "Canadians deserve competitive choice, regardless of what wire connects to their home, or the speed of Internet they want."
Well-intentioned CRTC ruling being thwarted by actions of large industry players
The CRTC – as a regulator protecting consumers and promoting the public interest – has made decisions with the stated intention of supporting market and consumer choice. In 2015, the CRTC established a new set of rules under which the big players would be required to sell underlying broadband connectivity to their competitors on a wholesale basis. It was designed to ensure continued robust competition in the Canadian marketplace for Internet services.
While well-intentioned, the decision itself was premised on a flawed pricing process where incumbents overbilled competitors and ultimately Canadian consumers more than $300M. Further, the decision did not anticipate the obstacles large incumbents have introduced to prevent a fair and competitive marketplace from developing.
CNOC's filing outlines how the CRTC needs to re-look at their 2015 decision based on the path the industry is taking and make key corrections to prevent limiting choice, adding unnecessary complexity, and increasing consumer prices.
CRTC changes required to support continued competition
The 2015 decision allows the large carriers to dramatically increase cost and complexity, while restricting high-speed competition.
- Large carriers are adding network access complexity that increases costs that consumers must bear
- Current framework is delaying network access by years and limiting consumer choice
- Independent carriers will be restricted from offering higher Internet speeds which limits consumer choice
Consumers risk less choice and higher prices
"The large telephone and cable companies have used this same playbook time and time again. We need only look at the state of the Canadian wireless industry to see what we risk without healthy competition," said Mr. Stein. "Without regulatory change, in many parts of the country, we could revert to a market monopoly where Canadians have no choice in provider for the Internet services they require."
Independent Internet providers price offerings up to 30 per cent less than the large telephone and large cable companies. More than 87% of Canadian households subscribe to high-speed Internet with the number growing everyday.
Canadians cannot wait for competition to fail before we act
"It's clear that Canadians benefit from a robust, competitive market for Internet services that include independent providers," continued Mr. Stein. "The time for action is now to safeguard consumer choice, reasonable prices and service standards, and encourage innovation."
The Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc. (CNOC) is composed of 35 innovative, competitive telecommunications services providers that own or operate wireline and/or wireless networks operating in many regions of Canada. The objectives of CNOC are to promote innovation and increase the level of competitive communications services business in the Canadian economy.
SOURCE Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc.
For further information: Aby Bueno, Broad Reach Communications, T: 416-858-3135, E: [email protected]
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