The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) on Thursday made a ruling that will make it more difficult for small providers in the industry to compete with the big established players.
Back in April 2021, the CRTC's ruling provided for smaller "virtual" operators to lease bandwidth from the big companies (Rogers, Telus, and BCE). However, this ruling contained stipulations seen by critics as heavily favoring the big operators.
According to Reuters, the new ruling on Thursday has also been seen by many as a blow to healthy competition within the Canadian telecom industry.
The gist of the Thursday ruling is that network access fees are to remain high in order for smaller operators to access the high-speed networks of the big telecom companies. This, naturally, is a cost which will have to be passed on to consumers in terms of the rates these companies must charge.
This ruling answers an appeal that the industry had been anxiously waiting for since 2019. Small providers had their hopes dashed, as they were expecting lower rates and possibly retroactive reimbursements for what they had been required to pay previously.
Canadian customers pay for some of the most expensive cell phone and internet service on the planet; Canada consistently ranks in the top ten countries with most expensive telecommunications services, and in many cases, it even ranks in the top five.
Andy Kaplan-Myrth, one of the vice presidents of TekSavvy, a Canadian telecom startup, said when interviewed, "I never heard this scenario discussed seriously, and never really considered that they would do this."
Kaplan-Myrth went on to describe the new ruling as a "tombstone on the grave of telecom competition in Canada."