Internet - Our Role

We are reviewing our approach to Internet competition in order to provide more choices and lower prices to Canadians.

Let's work together to ensure all Canadians have access to affordable high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. Share your thoughts with us today!

What we do

We regulate the wholesale rates charged by large telephone and cable companies to competitors who access their networks in order to offer their services. We don’t generally regulate retail rates charged by Internet service providers to their retail customers.

Retail Internet rates, quality of service and business practices

In general, we don’t intervene in rates, quality of service issues, or business practices of Internet service providers as they relate to retail customers. There is enough competition in the market and Canadians have choices so they can shop for different service packages.

However, we want to ensure that all Internet data is treated fairly and that no content or content creator is given an advantage or is disadvantaged by differential pricing practices. Differential pricing is when the same or similar products are offered to customers at different prices.

Internet data pricing practices

Following a public consultation on differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans, we strengthened our commitment to net neutrality, consumer choice, and the 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.

Wholesale Internet rates and quality of service

Smaller Internet service providers must use part of a large telephone or cable company’s network to offer Internet and other services to its retail customers. We promote competition in the Internet market by regulating how these providers are billed, as well as rates and quality of service issues for wholesale services. This ensures that Canadians have access to a range of Internet service providers.

Visual representation of the flat-rate billing model
Long description

The CRTC requires telephone and cable companies to sell access to their networks to independent Internet service providers at regulated wholesale prices.

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

The CRTC does not regulate retail consumer prices, except for retail Internet services offered by Northwestel in its terrestrially served communities (e.g., those communities not served by satellite). These rates are established by the service providers, and may be negotiated with consumers.

Closing the digital divide in Canada

We established a universal service objective that Canadians, in rural and remote areas as well as in urban centres, have access to voice services and broadband Internet access services on fixed and mobile wireless networks.

We set new targets for these services:

To help service providers that do not meet the above targets and that would like to provide and/or improve their services in underserved areas, we set up a fund of up to $750 million over five years.

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