POLITICS

New wholesale Internet rates for independents to be implemented Feb. 1

01/27/2012 02:54 EST | Updated 03/28/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - New wholesale rates for independent Internet service providers will be implemented on Feb. 1, the federal broadcast regulator said Friday.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission established new rules last year on how large telephone and cable companies may charge independent ISPs for the use of their networks.

The regulator said the companies will go ahead with their proposed implementation plans, with the exception of Bell, where their plan has been modified on an temporary basis while the CRTC resolves issues raised by the Canadian Network Operators Consortium.

In November, the CRTC gave companies a choice of either charging the smaller Internet providers a flat rate per user or selling the ISPs a specific amount of capacity on their networks.

The decision reversed an earlier plan that would have seen some independent Internet service providers — which provide unlimited download services — forced to adopt the same pricing model many of the big companies which limit usage.

Under the new capacity-model for billing, a small ISP buys a certain amount of network capacity from one of the big providers and if its customers unexpectedly increase their usage, their service could slow.

The CRTC decision only affected the wholesale prices independent Internet providers pay for network use — not the monthly retail rates they charge their customers.

Earlier this month, independent service provider TekSavvy Solutions Inc. said it would increase its Internet rates in response to the CRTC decision.