The internet industry is still in the midst of adapting to life amid a global pandemic. Broadband connections are being pushed to their limits worldwide, as more people find themselves relying on the internet for work and school.
In the United States, providers like AT&T, Comcast and other major internet service providers (ISPs) are boosting speeds and offering free tiers of service to help the average citizen stay connected without worrying about affording bills. In Canada, many ISPs seem to be taking the opposite approach.
Canadian ISP TekSavvy is currently at the center of this controversy. TekSavvy is the largest mid size ISP in Canada, which means they service hundreds of thousands of customers across the country. They recently announced that they will be raising the price on their internet plans by $5 per month. According to Yahoo Finance, that change represents “….an increase of between six per cent for higher-priced plans to 20 per cent for lower-priced plans.”
TekSavvy maintains that they have to raise rates because of how high wholesale internet rates are. The company argues that since they have to pay those rates through August, their customers need to help them shoulder the costs. All of the major internet providers in Canada completely disagree with that argument.
Predictably, the phone and cable companies that supply wholesale internet services to smaller ISPs like TekSavvy, argue that their rates are set below cost because of a flawed analysis system. This disagreement is going to remain until Candian courts are able to render a binding decision. That could take some time.
In the meantime, many Canadian consumers may find themselves stuck dealing with a rate hike. Hopefully, more companies will follow in the steps of American ISPs and put the public good ahead of profit. COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, which means companies and people alike need to adapt.