"Here we go again — they've got their hand in my pocket," says Toronto Bell customer Larry McLean about his latest price increase. "We're paying too much."
The hikes come on the heels of a CRTC ruling declaring broadband internet a basic and vital service that all Canadians should be able to access.
Still, it's not all doom and gloom for price-sensitive cyber surfers. In a surprise move, some smaller internet providers have actually lowered their prices this year.
"It was a nice little treat," says Brian Putman from Owen Sound, Ont. He subscribes to small telecom, Start.ca, and recently learned his internet bill would drop by $10 a month.
Canadians have come to expect endless telecom price hikes. So customer Putman was caught off guard when his provider, Start.ca informed him that his monthly internet bill would drop from $80 to $70.
"It just came out of the blue," he says. "Whenever I pay less for anything, I'm always very excited."
Smaller competitors TekSavvy and Distributel have also lowered their home internet rates.
The reductions were prompted by an October ruling from the CRTC decreed that major providers were charging smaller competitors too much for wholesale access to their networks.
That meant the big incumbent telecoms had to lower their fees charged to third party providers. And some of those providers decided to pass on the savings to customers.
"We were granted a little bit of a reprieve from a cost perspective," says Gayle Padvaiskas, Distributel's vice president of marketing.
She added that the company had actually planned to hike fees this year. Because of the CRTC ruling, however, Distributel instead says it dropped prices anywhere from 10 to 38 per cent on many home internet plans.
"We were actually able to change our strategy on a dime," says Padvaiskas, who is based in Montreal.
Rogers and Telus also offer $9.99 a month internet plans for low-income customers, but they are limited to people either living in social housing or receiving income assistance.
Bell, Rogers, Telus raise some internet prices