Federal court approves TekSavvy’s appeal against CRTC’s decision on broadband tariffs



The federal court has agreed to hear TekSavvy Solutions Inc.’s appeal against a controversial ruling by Canada’s telecoms regulator on wholesale broadband tariffs.

In May, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) overturned its own 2019 ruling that reduced the fees that large telephone and cable companies charge smaller Internet service providers (ISPs) for access to their networks can.

The decision sparked outrage from small internet service providers, including Teksavvy, based in Chatham, Ontario, which is also asking the federal cabinet to reintroduce the 2019 decision and remove CRTC chairman Ian Scott.

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In order to promote competition in the Internet market, the regulatory authority for telecommunications requires larger providers to sell network access to smaller providers at regulated tariffs. The independent ISPs then sell their services to their own customers.

In August 2019, the CRTC lowered the fees that the major telecommunications companies could charge and ordered them to make significant retrospective payments – an estimated $ 325 million at the time, according to court documents – to third-party operators to cover them for the higher , intermediate rates applicable since 2016.

The ruling created legal and regulatory challenges from major telecommunications companies, who argued that the new tariffs were so low that they would stifle network investments. Both the Federal Court of Appeals and the Federal Cabinet declined to overturn the CRTC’s ruling, leaving the final decision to the regulator itself.

After a lengthy review, the commission overturned its 2019 decision, saying it had found significant errors. The CRTC has decided to largely retain the intermediate rates that have been in force since 2016 with a few adjustments.

The reversal of the CRTC caused Teksavvy to abandon its plans to enter the cellular market and exit an auction for 5G radio due to insufficient funds.

In court documents, Independent Telecom argues that the regulator made a mistake by reverting to 2016 tariffs instead of recalculating the cost of providing the services.

The federal appeals court on Wednesday allowed Teksavvy to appeal the CRTC’s decision. A CRTC spokesman declined to comment.

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