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In wake of Supreme Court ruling, TekSavvy urges CRTC to immediately implement 2019 wholesale rates and promote affordable internet

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As frustrated consumers demand federal action to lower prices, Canada's top court dismisses Big Telecom's case with costs.

CHATHAM, ON, Feb. 25, 2021 /CNW/ - TekSavvy Solutions Inc. (TekSavvy) welcomed today's decision from the Supreme Court of Canada declining to hear appeals by Canada's largest telecom and cable companies (such as Bell Canada and Rogers), who seek to overturn a key 2019 CRTC decision lowering the wholesale Internet rates the large carriers charge smaller competitors.

The Supreme Court's ruling ordered the large carriers to pay TekSavvy's legal costs, following an earlier, unanimous decision from the Federal Court of Appeal rejecting the large carriers' appeals with costs, noting the large carriers' arguments were of "dubious merit". The Supreme Court's decision was issued amid growing frustration and demands by Canadian consumers for federal action on affordable internet.

The CRTC's August 2019 Final Rates Order is the result of an extensive four-year regulatory proceeding that confirmed the large carriers systematically deviated from the CRTC's rate-setting rules to grossly inflate their costs of providing wholesale access to their networks. The CRTC condemned the large carriers' rate-fixing as "very disturbing" because it would drive smaller competitors out of business. The large carriers appealed the 2019 Final Rates Order to the courts, the Federal Cabinet and the CRTC itself.

Even after the Federal Court of Appeal's complete rejection of the incumbents appeals, the CRTC issued a new decision declining to implement its own order. The CRTC instead allowed the large carriers to continue charging grossly inflated rates until the CRTC decides on Bell and Rogers' further requests to raise prices and keep the overcharged amounts. TekSavvy is challenging the CRTC's stay decision, calling it "flawed and unreasonable".

Denied rate relief and refunds for overcharged amounts, TekSavvy was forced to raise its prices. In addition to the prospect of further price hikes, TekSavvy warned that the CRTC's failure to act is hostile to independent investment, warning "the single greatest threat to TekSavvy's quarter billion dollar investment plan is the CRTC's delay in implementing its 2019 final wholesale rate order". The company said it is currently reviewing its business plans in light of the continuing climate of extreme regulatory uncertainty.

About TekSavvy

TekSavvy has been proudly serving Canadians award-winning telecom services and fighting for consumers' rights for more than 20 years. TekSavvy is committed to providing quality competitive choice and closing the digital divide in Canada. With over $250 million of planned broadband infrastructure investments by 2026, TekSavvy will continue to better connect underserved Canadians. TekSavvy has offices in Chatham, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec and is Canada's largest independent telecom service company serving over 300,000 customers from coast to coast.

SOURCE TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

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View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2021/25/c0094.html