Fostering competition in the Internet services market

The CRTC sets wholesale rates to facilitate greater competition between Internet services providers and to promote innovative broadband services and affordable prices for Canadians. You can choose to buy Internet services from independent service providers, or large cable or telephone companies. In most areas of Canada, there are enough of these companiesFootnote 1 to ensure competition, innovation and options for retail Internet services. As a result, the CRTC does not regulate retail Internet service prices, except for Northwestel’s operating territory.

In 2013, the CRTC found that there was limited competition for certain residential and business Internet services offered by Northwestel in its operating territory. The CRTC decided that it would regulate, on an exceptional basis, Northwestel’s rates for these services.

To foster competition at the wholesale level, the CRTC requires that large companies sell access to their networks under specific terms and conditions. Service providers use this access, with their own networks, to offer Internet and other services to their own retail customers. In other words, independent service providers are wholesale customers of large cable and telephone companies.

The CRTC sets the rates at which telephone and cable companies may charge their wholesale clients. The rates are based on the costs that the large cable and telephone companies incur to provide the wholesale service, and include a reasonable markup.

On August 15, 2019, the CRTC set final wholesale rates that will facilitate greater competition and promote innovative broadband services and affordable prices for consumers.

Read more about our role in internet pricing.

Internet data pricing practices

Following a public consultation on differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans, the CRTC strengthened its commitment to net neutrality, consumer choice and free exchange of ideas by citizens. We believe that all Internet data should be treated equally and that no advantage or disadvantage should be given to any content, content creator or customer due to these practices. Learn more about differential pricing and net neutrality.

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