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:

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:

Internet Pricing and the CRTC’s Role

PDF Version

1997

Scene One: An image of a person in a house. There are eight telephone wires radiating on angles from the house.

Competition in dial-up Internet results in no regulation for consumer prices.

Late 1990s

Scene Two: In the centre of the scene is a house with a computer inside it. On one side of the house is a business building with a tv inside it (cable company) and on the other is a business building with a telephone inside it (telephone company). There are cables running from each building to the house.

Two main sources for broadband Internet - cable and telephone. The CRTC does not regulate consumer prices.

1997-2000

Scene Three: In the centre of the scene is a house with a computer inside it. On one side of the house is a business building with a tv inside it (cable company) and on the other is a business building with a telephone inside it (telephone company). There are cables running from each building to the house. Below are four buildings (independent Internet service providers) with wires running to the telephone and cable company.

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.

Today

Scene Four: An image of a person in a house. There are lines on the right connecting the house to a business building with a tv inside it (cable company), a building (independent Internet service provider) and a business building with a telephone inside it (telephone company). To the left of the house, is a image of a satellite and an image of a wireless tower each have signal radiating towards the house.

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.

Today

Scene Five: There are two buildings, one with a tv inside it (cable company) and the other with a telephone inside it (phone company). There are lines running from these two buildings to another building (independent Internet service provider). Above each of these two lines is a CRTC logo. There are also lines running from the business building with a tv inside it (cable company), the building (independent Internet service provider) and the business building with a telephone inside it (telephone company) to a house.

The CRTC regulates rates, terms and conditions between the telephone/cable companies and the independent ISPs.

Two approved Wholesale Billing Models

Scene Six: Two approved Wholesale Billing Models. Wholesale flat rate model. Wholesale capacity-based model. Both models include a monthly access rate per retail customer. There is a building with a telephone and a television inside (telephone or cable company). From the building runs a line to another building (independent ISP). Above that line are the words “wholesale flat rate model.” There are also two pipes running from the telephone or cable company to two other buildings (independent ISPs). One pipe is larger than the other and has a large dollar sign inside it. The other pipe is smaller and has a smaller dollar sign inside it. Between these two pipes are the words “wholesale capacity-based model

Both models include a monthly access rate per retail customer.

Date modified: