An Open Letter to all Northern Internet Users
Let me start by saying thank you. your time is valuable so I will be brief.
Last year SSi filed a formal complaint with the CRTC against Northwestel. The rates charged by Northwestel for the use of its "backbone network" are far too high. That backbone is needed by competitors to carry communications traffic to the south, and CRTC intervention can fix the problem. Northwestel enjoys a monopoly - there are no alternatives for backbone services - so if they charge too much, that directly and negatively affects the service competitors can offer consumers. It also affects whether there will be any competition at all.
To be clear, we are not talking about pricing you might consider typical as a "northern premium". Backbone rates proposed by Northwestel are as much as 3,000% (not a typo) higher than similar services in the south. This smacks of anti-competitive and discriminatory pricing practices, and we believe it is high time for these abusive practices to stop.
On January 5, 2012 the CRTC agreed with SSi and directed Northwestel to file a cost study justifying their backbone rates. The study would form the basis of a CRTC regulated price to ensure fair competition. Unfortunately, Northwestel has refused to comply with the directive and instead appealed the CRTC decision, further delaying competition.
We believe all Northerners should be very concerned about Northwestel's discriminatory pricing and ongoing delay tactics. The abuse of a monopoly only serves to hurt consumers, competitors and innovation. If you believe that you are paying too much for your voice or data services, or if you want to encourage more competition in the North, now is the time to act!
The CRTC is asking for your input! There are only a few days left to voice your concern. We have put some information online to make it easier for you to file comments.
The deadline for filing comments is this Friday, February 24, 2012.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to consider this note. Your voice really does count, and an intervention can help bring about positive change.
President & CEO
The SSi Group of Companies
For more details on our complaint against Northwestel and the CRTC decision, you can visit the CRTC web site.