NDP joins calls for Liberals to overturn CRTC internet price decision

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TORONTO — The federal New Democratic Party is adding its voice to calls for the government to overrule a recent decision on wholesale internet rates by Canada’s telecommunications regulator.

NDP telecom critic Brian Masse says consumers will pay the cost of last week’s CRTC decision, which reversed its own 2019 decision that substantially lowered the wholesale internet prices larger companies charge for access to their networks.

Masse says the Liberal government undermined the CRTC last year when cabinet said the regulator had made errors in the 2019 decision — a message that was widely seen as favourable to the bigger phone and cable carriers.

He told reporters in a virtual press conference that New Democrats want the Trudeau government to restore the 2019 wholesale price cuts and to compensate the smaller internet carriers.

He also called for broader changes in how Canadian telecommunications prices are set, including a return to having the CRTC regulate what consumers and businesses pay for essential services such as the internet.

Masse’s call comes a day after independent internet provider TekSavvy Solutions Inc. called for cabinet to overrule the CRTC decision, remove CRTC chairman Ian Scott and order the Competition Bureau to look into activities by Canada’s phone and cable companies.

David Paddon, The Canadian Press