Internet - Our Role
Retail Internet rates, quality of service and business practices
A retail customer is the end user who purchases access to the Internet. The CRTC does not intervene in how the retail customer is billed, the rates, quality of service issues, or business practices of Internet service providers as they relate to retail customers. This is because there is enough competition in the market and retail customers have a choice and can shop around for service packages.
We collected your comments on differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans. Differential pricing occurs when the same or a similar product or service is offered to customers at different prices. You can read the comments that were shared with us (look for “interventions”). A public hearing was held on October 31, 2016 on this issue.
Examination of differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans (Notice of Consultation 2016-192-1)
Wholesale Internet rates and quality of service
A wholesale customer is an Internet service provider who must use part of the large telephone and cable companies' networks in order to offer Internet and other services to its own retail customers. The CRTC regulates how the wholesale customer is billed, rates and quality of service issues for wholesale services. This, in turn, ensures that Canadians have access to a range of Internet service providers.
Universal service objective and a new fund
Following the review of Canada’s basic telecommunications services, the CRTC has established a universal service objective that Canadians – in rural and remote areas as well as in urban centres – should have access to voice services and broadband Internet access services on fixed and mobile wireless networks.
The CRTC is also setting new targets for these services:
- speeds of 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband services
- an unlimited data option for fixed broadband services
- the latest mobile wireless technology available not only to all homes and businesses, but also along major Canadian roads
New funding for broadband projects
The CRTC is establishing a fund for projects in areas that don’t meet these targets. Applicants will be able to submit funding proposals in order to build or upgrade infrastructure for fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services. The fund will:
- make available up to $750 million over the first five years;
- be complementary to existing and future private investment and public funding;
- focus on underserved areas; and
- be managed at arm’s length by a third party.
Internet Pricing and the CRTC’s Role
Competition in dial-up Internet results in no regulation for consumer prices.
Two main sources for broadband Internet - cable and telephone. The CRTC does not regulate consumer prices.
CRTC requires telephone and cable companies to sell access to their networks to independent Internet service providers (ISPs) at regulated wholesale prices – no regulation of consumer prices.
In most areas of Canada, there are multiple choices for Internet services, therefore the CRTC does not regulate consumer prices, except for retail Internet services offered by Northwestel in its terrestrially served communities.
The CRTC regulates rates, terms and conditions between the telephone/cable companies and the independent ISPs.
Two approved Wholesale Billing Models
Both models include a monthly access rate per retail customer.
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