Chatham-based TekSavvy beats internet Goliaths

TekSavvy headquarters in Chatham. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

A Chatham-based internet service provider is celebrating a big win over Canada’s largest telecom companies by passing some savings on to its customers.

Canada’s telecom regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has allowed TekSavvy to lower its prices after the CRTC found the large telecoms were overcharging smaller competitors for access to their networks. Canada’s largest independent internet service provider announced on Friday that it is lowering bills and upgrading packages for hundreds of thousands of internet subscribers, thanks to a CRTC decision last month. More than 85 per cent of TekSavvy customers will benefit from reduced prices or upgraded, unlimited data plans on their next monthly bill.

On August 15, 2019, the CRTC determined that Canada’s biggest telecom companies, such as Bell Canada and Rogers, had grossly overstated their costs to provide smaller competitors with access to their networks. The CRTC corrected the inflated rates down to more reasonable levels, then ordered the big telecoms to repay the amounts they overcharged smaller competitors. In 2016, the CRTC also strongly condemned the big telecoms for their rate-fixing behaviour citing it as ‘very disturbing’ because it would drive smaller competitors out of business and deny Canadians choice for internet services. TekSavvy said both CRTC decisions show the big telecoms ignored regulations to exaggerate their costs, drove up costs for competitors and kept prices high for consumers.

The refund ordered by the CRTC dates back to March 2016, which the big telecoms claim adds up to $325 million but the disputed amount is much higher, added Tek Savvy, because the big telecoms introduced their extremely inflated rates in 2011.

“TekSavvy has been ringing alarm bells about inflated wholesale rates for years,” said Marc Gaudrault, TekSavvy’s CEO. “So we’re happy to be able to pass these benefits on to our customers as we continue our investments in wireless LTE and fibre networks.”