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TekSavvy ‘running on hope’ as it urges CRTC to allow wholesale fibre internet access

GATINEAU, Que. — Independent telecom TekSavvy says the federal regulator must urgently level the playing field when it comes to internet competition amid a shrinking market for small providers.

The Chatham, Ont.-based carrier appeared before the CRTC on Friday as the commission held the final day of its hearing on whether to create a national wholesale framework that allows providers to sell fibre internet services to customers by paying a fee to access networks built by their rivals.

TekSavvy says it is the “most critical regulatory proceeding” ever for the company, noting it has lost more than 100,000 subscribers since its peak amid an unfavourable regulatory environment for wholesalers.

The company’s vice-president of regulatory and carrier affairs Andy Kaplan-Myrth confirmed TekSavvy is not currently for sale nor at risk of closing, but he warned that “we’ve been running on hope for a very long time” but that “no rational business runs on hope forever.”

The CRTC announced last November it would temporarily require Bell Canada and Telus Corp. to provide competitors with access to their fibre-to-the-home networks in Ontario and Quebec starting this May.

CRTC chairwoman Vicky Eatrides said earlier this week there has been declining competition between internet providers in recent years as many independents have been bought out by large companies, along with those that remain having fewer subscribers than they once did.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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