Internet - Our Role

The CRTC regulates the wholesale rates charged by large telephone and cable companies to competitors to access their networks in order to offer their services. The CRTC does not regulate retail rates charged by Internet service providers to their retail customers.

Retail Internet rates, quality of service and business practices

The CRTC does not intervene in 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 Canadians have a choice and can shop around for service packages. However the CRTC does ensure that all Internet data is treated fairly and that no advantage or disadvantage is given to any content or content creator due to differential pricing practices.

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.

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

The CRTC 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.

The CRTC 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, the CRTC has set up a fund of up to $750 million over a five-year period.

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.

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