TekSavvy is reminding Canadians the federal government has until May 27th to lower their internet bills.
The internet service provider’s (ISP) ‘Pay Less to Connect‘ campaign features a doomsday-like timer counting down the minutes the government has left to speak on its petition to overrule an “arbitrary rate decision” by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
“The federal cabinet can lower your internet bills. They decide by May 27, 2022,” the campaign’s home page says in big, bold letters.
An image of Bell CEO Mirko Bibic and Chairman Ian Scott is featured underneath. The image was captured after the CRTC released a decision saying larger telecom companies had to lower the wholesale internet rates charged to smaller competitors. The two met in an Ottawa pub in December 2019, the week after Bell filed an appeal to undo the ruling. The CRTC ultimately reversed its decision in May 2021.
The May 27th, 2022 deadline originated from a petition TekSavvy filed on May 28th, 2021, asking the government to overrule the CRTC’s reversal.
TekSavvy wants Scott fired, or at the very least, wants him to recuse himself from decisions involving wholesale and facilities-based competition because he has a “clear bias.” In its petition, TekSavvy references Scott’s speech at a Canadian Club Toronto event in May 2021, where Scott said he has “a personal preference or a stronger belief in reliance on facilities-based competition” than the wholesale-based competition, linking it to personal experiences in the private sector.
Since the filing, TekSavvy has further revealed Scott met with representatives from telecom companies while a file on internet rates was open, including 11 with representatives from Bell, Rogers, or Shaw. The now infamous 2019 meeting Scott had with Bibic is also included.
Scott defended his actions several times. His most recent comes from comments he made at the International Institute of Communications annual conference this week.
“It’s unfortunate that so much is attached to the title of the chair — I don’t make decisions for the Commission,” Scott said about the meeting. He noted that 80 people advise on telecom-related issues. “The focus is a bit misplaced.”
The ISP also wants the government to reinstate the CRTC’s 2019 Rates Order and ask the Competition Commissioner to address “anti-competitive activity,” TekSavvy says leading telecom companies in Canada displayed.