There’s a dirty word that unfortunately gets attached to TekSavvy by Big Telecom’s lawyers and lobbyists who would rather we not exist. That word is “reseller.”
It’s dirty because it’s incorrect and intended to diminish what TekSavvy does. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary of providing consumers with an alternative to the big players, it’s a good time to set the record straight.
Big Telecom uses the term to imply that TekSavvy merely “resells” what they offer – that all we do is slap our brand on their services, adding little value in the grand scheme of things. But that description couldn’t be further from the truth.
Check out this video that shows how TekSavvy is different in a good way, or read on to learn why:
Shovels in the ground
When the big telcos say “reseller,” the intention is to distinguish between companies that build and operate broadband and wireless networks and those that provide services over them on a wholesale basis. The implication is that builders create more economic value and should therefore receive preferential treatment from government regulators.
While TekSavvy does provide wholesale-based services across Canada, it also owns and operates a growing broadband network centred on its headquarters in Chatham, Ontario. TekSavvy is expanding this network in Southwestern Ontario, to the point where tens of thousands of households now have access to services they didn’t before or have additional competitive providers to choose from.
Internet connections are not just single cables running from users’ homes straight into cyberspace. Rather, they are made up of a number of connections between different networks owned by a multitude of companies.
Every service provider in Canada inevitably pays to use network infrastructure owned by other companies – it’s essential to the telecom industry. It’s hypocritical for any company – especially large ones that literally share networks with each other – to refer to TekSavvy as resellers.
The key part of the wholesale system is the cable that runs into the home from a central equipment cabinet on a customer’s street or neighbourhood. This “last mile” is a de facto phone-and-cable-company duopoly enshrined for decades by regulators – and for good reason.
Regulators understand that it is inefficient for every would-be competitor to build their own last-mile connection, especially when it would mean digging up roads and front lawns each time. They also know that consumers should have more than one or two options to choose from for service, so they require phone and cable companies to lease out their last-mile connections to competitors such as TekSavvy.
Ironically, it’s this final, regulatorily protected segment of the entire network-of-networks on which the inaccurate “reseller” put-down is based.
Standing up for consumers
Over the past quarter-century, TekSavvy has become synonymous with championing consumers’ rights. We fight the big telcos and their frequent anti-consumer moves on almost every front.
When they wanted to charge internet customers for every gigabyte used, we fought them. When they wanted to slow down speeds for online services that competed with their own offerings, we fought them. When they wanted to block websites that conflict with their services, we fought them.
Countering the telcos in front of regulators, government and courts is one of the biggest value propositions TekSavvy brings to Canada’s telecom market. It's perhaps the main reason why they try to diminish us. Life would be easier for them if we simply weren’t around.
The fight over the word “reseller” isn’t just a matter of semantics. It’s a battle over how Canada’s telecom market should work and who it should serve. TekSavvy literally exists to compete and to give consumers more options, unlike the big telcos, whose only concern is boosting profits and shareholder dividends.
Words matter, which is why TekSavvy is not a reseller – no matter what they say otherwise.
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