Your internet bill is going up soon -if your service is with Bell or Rogers.
The two companies announced earlier this month that the price of their services are going up across the board. I got my letter just last week.
As consumers, we do not have much of a choice as far as internet services are concerned. In Canada and particularly in Ontario, the variety of services are not great. Bell and Rogers own most of the network infrastructure. Almost all the other service providers “rent” their wires to provide the service into your home. They can offer some savings but depend on the big companies for servicing and repairs. The experience of calling Acanac or another one of the little internet providers with a technical service request when your internet is down is, as one could imagine, not always pleasant. You can almost imagine some Rogers’ tech guy dragging his feet in order to avoid having to fix the issue of the start-up competitors.
Bell has now started a legal process to stop even this small measure of competition from happening. The CRTC, the government body that regulates the Big Telecoms, ruled earlier that Bell, Rogers and Telus have to provide their networks at wholesale prices to smaller companies. They are legally required to do so. Bell is arguing that this is causing them to stop investing in their network and that that in turn would lead to job losses.
You have not heard much about this on the news yet and maybe you will, because this will hit all of us in the pocket books. But it is hard not to be cynical about the small amount of coverage on the news on this type of issue when Bell and Rogers in particular have so much influence over the media that is available to the public (Bell for example owns CP24, CTV, The Globe and Mail and others). It is even harder to believe that the Big Telecoms are arguing that the subpar network that they are making available to us in Toronto under near monopoly conditions needs to be protected from competition in order for us to see improvements.
City Councillor Mike Layton is moving a motion at the City of Toronto to get the City to take the side of consumers on this. You can see his motion here:
The City of Calgary already did so earlier last month. They had a 30 page report challenging Bell on the grounds that more competition is needed to improve the service.
The Big Telecoms have not invested in the network in our area. Canada has a very unreliable system, by world standards, and high internet speed is not found in all neighbourhood, least of all Downsview. We need competition to keep the big companies honest.