Internet entrepreneur says report would give big networks too much influence

Internet entrepreneur says report would give big networks too much influence
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TORONTO — One of the country’s independent internet service providers says Canadian consumers will lose out if the Trudeau government enshrines market forces as the main way to stimulate competition.

VMedia founder George Burger says the Liberals gave Canada’s telecom regulator more flexibility to strike a balance between the conflicting interests of big telecom players and their smaller rivals, than it had under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Burger argues recommendations last week by an expert panel would limit the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s ability to set wholesale rates that strike the right competitive balance.

VMedia says the report on Canada’s telecom and broadcasting industries contains many recommendations that favour large network companies at the expense of smaller players — and consumers.

The Toronto-based company is one of hundreds of small internet services providers locked in a multi-year battle over how much they pay for wholesale service from major telecom companies, including Bell and Rogers.

The independent ISPs argue that their wholesale rates were set artificially high from 2016 until last August, when the industry regulator reduced them. The big ISPs argue the regulator’s new rates are too low to cover their costs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B)

The Canadian Press

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