The Hidden Costs to Your Internet Service Providers

Worldline recognizes the challenges faced by Canadians due to the lack of choice and competition in the market. Our parent company, Fibernetics, is a CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) that is dedicated to fostering innovation, competition, and affordability in the telecommunications industry. With the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announcing a consultation on the Internet services market, now seems a good time for us to answer some questions you may have around the CRTC and the hidden costs of the Canadian telecommunications industry. 

What is the CRTC?


The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was created in 1976. It is a regulatory agency which represents the public’s interest when it comes to broadcasting and telecommunications. The CRTC has long been committed to ensuring all Canadians have access to world-class communications systems and they have made several decisions in recent years to address the pain points of Canadians; namely high prices, limited competition, poor customer service, and slow internet speeds.  

Their recent announcement of a consultation on the Internet services market, which includes a re-examination of wholesale rates and access to fiber-to-the-home networks, demonstrates their ongoing dedication to Canadians. While their actions are commendable, it is essential to consider the hidden costs associated with the current state of the Canadian telecommunications industry as these costs impact the quality, affordability, and accessibility of services for all Canadian consumers. 

What are the hidden costs of the Canadian telecom industry and how do they affect me?

High Prices

Why they happen: The market dominance of the “Big Three” telecom companies has long been a significant pain point for Canadians who often pay higher prices for services compared to consumers in other countries. Many of the “smaller” telecos that you may think of as independent, are owned by the “Big Three”. The lack of competition means that these large providers have little incentive to lower prices or offer better services.  

How does it impact me? Lack of competition in the market means you end up paying more for the services you need. 

Limited Innovation

Why it happens: A lack of competition can stifle innovation in the industry. When a few companies control the market, there’s less motivation to invest in new technologies, services, or infrastructure.  

How does it impact me? Less innovation means there are fewer emerging technologies which puts Canadians and our businesses at a disadvantage on the global stage. 

Rural-Urban Digital Divide

Why it happens: The Big Three have largely focused on investing in urban areas, leaving rural areas underserved. The CRTC has declared broadband internet to be a basic telecommunications service, but there is still work to be done to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas. 

Autumn view over Westport Ontario in Canada.

How does it impact me:  The lack of investment in rural infrastructure widens the digital divide, preventing many Canadians from accessing high-speed internet services and hindering smooth digital communication between Canadians in urban and rural areas.

Inefficient Market Dynamics 

Why it happens: The current market dynamics limit the potential of smaller Internet Service providers and alternate service providers like Fibernetics.

How does it impact me: Restricted access to fiber-to-the-home networks combined with high wholesale rates makes it difficult for smaller players to compete effectively, often forcing them to pass on higher costs to consumers. 

What is the CRTC Consultation All About? 

The CRTC’s recent announcement of a consultation on the Internet services market is a step in the right direction to address these hidden costs. By re-examining wholesale rates and considering mandating access to fiber-to-the-home networks for competitors, the CRTC is working to promote competition, lower prices, and increase choice for consumers. 

Here are some of the questions they’ll be examining: 

Should there be further Wholesale Rate Reductions? The CRTC has imposed an immediate 10% reduction on some wholesale rates. This move could help level the playing field for smaller ISPs and alternate service providers and allow them to offer more competitive pricing which ultimately benefits Canadian consumers. 

Should large telephone and cable companies provide competitors with access to their fiber-to-the-home networks? By enabling faster Internet speeds for customers and further promoting competition in the market, the CRTC will be addressing one of the primary pain points of Canadians. Mandated access to these networks could lead to a more innovative and competitive industry, ultimately benefiting consumers with better services and better pricing. 

Feedback Comment Survey Support Response Bar Word

What is the public’s opinion? The CRTC wants to remain in touch with the needs of Canadians and they are offering the public a chance to voice their concerns and opinions. This open dialogue will help inform and shape the CRTC’s decisions, ensuring the final outcomes align with consumer expectations and needs. 

What are the implications of various wholesale access models on competition and consumer choice? Although the CRTC has decided not to pursue a broader implementation of the disaggregated model for wholesale access to large companies’ networks, they will maintain the model in areas where it has already been approved. This decision shows that the CRTC is carefully considering the implications of wholesale access models on consumers with respect to competition and choice. 

How is Fibernetics Shaping the Future of Canadian Telecommunications? 

As a CLEC, Fibernetics is committed to playing an active role in shaping the future of the Canadian telecommunications industry. We strive to be a driving force for positive change by offering innovative and affordable services to Canadian consumers. Here’s how we’re working to address the hidden costs in the current market: 

Core Values and Purpose on wall at GI

Our core values and purpose displayed on the wall at our headquarters in Cambridge, Ontario

We’re fostering innovation: Innovation is one of our core values because we
believe it is the key to a thriving and competitive industry. We continuously invest in new technologies and services to bring the best possible experience to our customers. Since our origins, we have challenged the status quo and sought to inspire other providers to do the same. (And on that note, stay tuned… Fibernetics is about to make an announcement regarding its biggest innovation in its twenty-year history!).


We’re bridging the digital divide: Fibernetics is working to bridge the digital divide that has left many Canadians underserved by providing high-quality services to both urban and rural communities. We are committed to expanding our services to ensure that all Canadians have access to the fast, reliable internet they deserve. 

We’re advocating for fair market conditions: Fibernetics actively engaged with the CRTC and other stakeholders to advocate for fair market conditions that promote competition, choice, and affordability for Canadian consumers. By voicing our support for policies that benefit consumers, we contribute to a more dynamic and competitive industry. 

We’re delivering superior customer service: We understand that exceptional customer service is a critical differentiator in the telecommunications market. Fibernetics is committed to providing outstanding support through our wholesale services, NEWT business services, and Worldline residential services. We have a Net Promoter Score of WHAT (Compared to an average NPS of what across the Big Three) fnd our customer response time averages less than a minute. We are committed to providing ongoing outstanding support to ensure that our customers have a positive experience when interacting with our company. 

How do I make my voice heard? 

The CRTC’s latest consultation on the Internet services market is a promising development in the ongoing effort to address the hidden costs associated with the current state of the Canadian telecommunications industry. By re-examining wholesale rates and considering mandated access to fiber-to-the-home networks, the CRTC is taking crucial steps toward promoting competition, lowering prices, and increasing choice for consumers. 

Fibernetics is proud to be an active participant in this process, advocating for policies that benefit Canadian consumers and working to provide innovative, affordable, and high-quality telecommunications services. As the industry evolves, we remain committed to our mission of delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving positive change in the Canadian telecommunications landscape. 

From now until June 22, 2023, the CRTC wants to hear from Canadians and we encourage all Canadians to participate in the CRTC’s consultation. Voice your opinion on the future of this industry. Together, we can work toward a more competitive and consumer-friendly telecommunications market that benefits everyone. 


October Tech Challenge: Consider a Tech Upgrade

The holiday season is fast approaching and retailers have some of their best sales between now and the new year, making this the perfect time to think about upgrading your tech.

How do I know if I need a tech upgrade?

As a general rule of thumb, you should upgrade your smartphone or laptop every 3 years. Beyond age, other signs your tech may need replacing:

  • not being able to run updates,
  • paying a lot for technology fixes,
  • a general slowing down or sluggishness in the operating speed of your device

Also consider how often you use the device in question and how much it would improve your personal or work life if the device was upgraded.

Ok, I need to upgrade. How do I decide what to buy?

Cost: One of the first considerations: what’s your budget? Is it worth spending the money for the latest and greatest, or would a refurbished, year-old device serve you and your budget just as well?

Needs: If you have multiple devices you think need upgrading, ask which device would create the most disruption to your life if it were lost or stolen. The answer will tell you which device is the most valuable to you and is, potentially, the one that should receive an upgrade.

Laptop, watch, phone, headphones on desk. Photo by Austin Poon

Take stock of what tech you have and what needs to be replaced and then wait for the sales to start!

Manufacturer: Do you have an iPhone and wonder if you’re missing out by not having an Android? Have you always bought Dell computers but think the new MacBook looks pretty awesome? It’s always worth looking at other manufacturers, even if you’ve been loyal to the same company for years.

Take an honest assessment about what you love about your current device and what you think could be improved, and then take a look at the competition. Read reviews and research the highest praise and biggest complaints for each manufacturer or device you’re considering. And don’t forget about the warranty and support.

That being said, compatibility is another factor. Generally your life is easier if your devices can talk to each other. You can create connectivity between incompatible devices, but that takes some tech savvy and time.

So when should I buy?

Having made the decision to buy something new and knowing what you want, it can be hard to wait. Fortunately for you, three of the best sales days for purchasing tech are still to come. Between Black Friday (Friday November 26), Cyber Monday (Monday November 29), and Boxing Day sales, you’re bound to find a deal.

We’ll see you next month for another tech challenge. In the meantime, good luck and happy shopping!


September Tech Challenge: Organize Virtual Files

This month we bring you tips for organizing your virtual files and documents to minimize digital clutter and stress!

Recently, I spent a happy half-hour re-organizing my OneNote notebooks. It had been on my to-do list for a while, but kept getting delayed in favour of more “urgent” items.

I discussed my accomplishment with a colleague who agreed that the urgency to organize files and documents is low since she’s never NOT been able to find something she needs. But, she also agreed that there’s a difference between being able to find what you’re looking for, and being able to find what you’re looking for quickly and without stress.

The “without stress” caveat is what really motivated me to start cleaning up my files. When a client messages me, “Can you send me the latest version of XYZ?”, I respond with, “No problem!”, followed by a smiling emoji who looks smugly in control of all their documents. What the client doesn’t see is me frantically searching for a paper bag to hyperventilate into while my brain is screaming at me, “WHERE IS IT? YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS, DO YOU?! YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO FIND IT! WE’RE ALL DOOMED!”

Ultimately, the stress is a bigger time and energy waster than the searching itself. So, with the goal to reduce stress (and save the paper bags for the kids’ lunches), I’ve gathered a few tips on how to best approach organizing virtual documents and minimize digital clutter:

Choose one location for each project or client

Do you have files, documents, and notes for a single project spread across Sharepoint, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, your desktop, your downloads folder, your iCloud Drive, your Notes app… This is a good time to choose one file management system in which to store everything to do with that one project, and move it all.

files on a digital screen being collected in one folder

Gather all your files, documents, and notes for one particular project or client, store them all together in one location, and give each file and document a name that makes it easy to identify what’s inside

Organize the files in that location in a way that makes sense to you

The first time I opened OneNote, I was excited to make use of this new, uncluttered space. I dove in and started creating notebooks like I was Hilroy® preparing for a back-to-school sale. Before long I had created ten different notebooks for one single project. Trust me when I say that’s too many notebooks.

file organization

Organize your digital files in a way that makes them quick to find

It’s OK to jump into a new file or document management system with both feet and try it out. But if you’re subsequently looking at your files with no idea what’s in half of them, it’s time to analyze how you’re using this system by asking:

  • How can I organize my files and documents in a way that makes sense to me and makes them easy to find?
  • Am I using a naming convention that quickly identifies the contents of each particular file and document?  (Tip: Make the file name descriptive but relatively short.)
  • Do I need a separate folder to archive older items?
  • Are there any classification features of this file management system, such as labels, icons, or colours, that would better help me identify a file’s contents?

Stay on top of it

Once your file management system is organized, review it frequently to make sure it’s still serving you and use that time to also deal with any digital clutter:

  • Weekly: Check your desktop, downloads folder, and email for documents that need to be moved, renamed, and stored with other project files. Also use this time to delete and unsubscribe from any email newsletters or notifications you don’t read or require.
  • Monthly: Delete any photos on your phone or computer that aren’t worth keeping. At the end of each year, find the photos that best tell the story of that year and make a photo book.
  • Quarterly: Check for any documents you haven’t opened in over 90 days and consider archiving them.

It can feel like an overwhelming task when you first get started, but take it folder by folder and soon you’ll be enjoying the extra time and sense of relaxation that comes with knowing that you can always find what you’re looking for. Good luck with this month’s challenge, and we’ll see you in October!

August Tech Challenge: Boost Your Wi-Fi

How should I start this month’s challenge?

“Boost your Wi-Fi” sounds relatively easy, doesn’t it? As if all you have to do is turn a dial or put in new batteries or switch internet providers. In reality, once you start reading about ways to improve your internet speed and Wi-Fi signal, you’ll find there are a LOT of variables that can impact your internet experience, and a lot of fixes that range from simple to technical, cheap to expensive. We’ll start simple and work up.

Is there a quick fix to improve my network?

If you haven’t tried the Fibernetics Self Help App, that should be your first move. It’s designed to assess the health of your network and provide you with suggestions for improving your network health.

Fibernetics Support App

Download the Fibernetics Support App from the App Store or Google Play. Run a Network Scan and get suggestions on how to improve your network’s health.

If you’ve done that and things don’t seem to have improved much, let’s move on.

Is something interfering with the Wi-Fi signal?

There are any number of obstacles your Wi-Fi signal may have to navigate so the next step is to ask: Is my router in the best possible location in my home?

Competing signals can come from microwaves, bluetooth devices, other Wi-Fi networks (from neighbours or within your home if you have multiple networks set up), and baby monitors. There may also be physical impediments like water (have a large fish tank?), large TVs, and building materials in your home (concrete, masonry, or thick wooden walls).

water can block signals

Wi-Fi signals can be blocked by baby monitors, microwaves, and large amounts of water

The best advice is to place your router in an open area, close to the middle of your home (vertically and horizontally), off the floor, out of the kitchen, away from walls… starting to sound like an impossible task? The trick is to not settle for the first spot you find. Move the router to different floors and different ends of the house. The “best advice” is just advice after all; you might have a nice large open space in the middle of your home, but if one of the walls is a two story glass aquarium, then your router will struggle (sounds nice though, can I come over some time?). Take your time to figure out which location provides the most coverage. You can actually map your home to see which areas are getting the best and worst coverage, using a free app called NetSpot.

antennas on router

If your router has multiple antennas, don’t have them all facing the same direction.

And don’t forget about those antennas, they aren’t just for decoration. If your router has two or more external antennas, make sure they’re pointing in different directions. As mentioned before, Wi-Fi signals may be navigating a lot of obstacles in your home to reach your devices. Having multiple antennas gives your router options and it will pick the antenna with the signal that has the most direct route to your device. Getting a higher quality router with more antennas, gives your router more signals and more routes to pick from, and a better chance of improved coverage throughout your entire home.

Do I have the best router? Best modem? What’s the difference?

Let’s start with the difference between them: The modem is the box that brings the internet into your house through cables. The router is the box that creates a network in your home which wireless devices can use to both access the internet and talk to each other.

Your Internet Service Provider may equip you with a router, a modem, or a combination box that does both, but there’s no need to stick with the one they installed. There are a lot of different routers on the market to satisfy many different customer needs. If you’re a single person living in a small apartment, with only a few devices, the standard-issue router may suit your needs just fine. But if you’re a family of ten all using different devices in an 8000 square foot mansion, that router your ISP installed just isn’t going to cut it.

wifi extender

Use a Wi-Fi extender or mesh system to increase coverage throughout your entire home

If you tried the NetSpot app and found dead zones in your house, you have a few options: you can try a wi-fi extender (a relatively cheap solution for smaller spaces), a mesh router (a more expensive but better option for coverage throughout your entire home), or get a new router. The choice you make will depend on how much you’re willing to spend, the amount of devices being used in your home at any one time, the amount and type of data being moved, and the number of square feet you want to cover. Use those data points to do your research and find the best option for your particular needs.

Are my router and devices configured with the best settings for my needs?

Here’s where things start to get a bit more technical. The following may give you some options for further improvements, or might make you say, “Uh, I can live with my connection the way it is!”

Depending on the type of router you have, there are a number of different settings which can improve your network. For example, some routers come with the ability to switch between 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. The 2.4GHz frequency reaches farther but moves data more slowly (wider range, lower bandwidth) while the 5GHz frequency moves more data but not as far (greater bandwidth, shorter range).

Deciding which to use is again based on your needs: overall you’ll get better throughput with the 5GHz and you should use it for streaming video or games at close range or in direct line of sight with your router where possible. If you’re using 5GHz and aren’t getting great coverage, then you may need to switch back to the 2.4GHz or try the aforementioned extender or mesh options.

To find out how to switch your router switch between 2.4GHz and 5GHz, consult your router manual. In some cases, your router will transmit both frequencies simultaneously and, depending on the technology in the device you’re using, your device may automatically navigate between the two to make use of the strongest one (although be mindful of the fact that older technology will not support 5GHz). Again, research is required to know exactly what your device is capable of and what frequencies your router transmits.

There’s a lot more we could say here about frequencies and channels… but maybe we’ll save some of the more technical fixes for another day. There really are so many options when it comes to improving your Wi-Fi network so for now, run through the ones we’ve provided and we’ll see you in September for another challenge!

July Tech Challenge: Update Antivirus Software

We know, you’ve had it up to here with talk of viruses. At the risk of agitating you further, we’re going to use the current global climate as a metaphor for computer viruses and an argument for why you should keep your antivirus software updated. Except, it’s not even a metaphor because computer viruses and antivirus software for your computer, behave exactly like viruses and vaccines in the human body.

What is a virus?

A virus on its own, can’t do anything. Whether it’s a physical virus just sitting on a door handle or some lines of computer code typed out on a screen, neither one can replicate, move around, or cause any harm. Viruses are made up of a set of instructions, but to follow those instructions they need to make their way into a host, whether that’s a computer or a human cell.


A computer virus is made of a lines of code which only become active when the infected program is run.

Once a virus finds itself in a computer (or a cell) and gets activated, it springs to “life” and starts following the instructions written inside it. It begins attaching itself to other computer code (or cells) and modifying that code (or cells) to create the perfect environment in which to replicate itself. That’s when everything hits the fan.

How Do Viruses get in?

We all know by now how the current Coronavirus travels around (wash your hands, people! And don’t cough or sneeze on anyone. Although, frankly, those are just good rules to follow all the time.)

Like a human virus, computer viruses also travel around. They can arrive through email and text attachments (94% of malware is delivered by email), files you download from the Internet (1 in 13 web requests lead to malware), and questionable app downloads (apps in the lifestyle (15%) & entertainment (7%) categories are the most commonly seen source of malicious apps).

antivirus software blog post

Viruses can get onto your device through emails, downloads, and questionable apps. Your device can also be infected by other infected devices sharing the same network.

Once on your computer, a virus will lie dormant until you run the program the virus infected. This means there may be no signs or symptoms of a virus for days to weeks after your computer becomes infected. Once activated, the virus can infect other devices on your network at home or work.

How much can a computer virus cost me?

On average, a virus on your device will cost you $5600 in terms of lost time (figuring out what’s wrong with your device and taking it to be fixed or shopping to replace it), money (to have viruses removed, replace devices, and actual money taken from your accounts if your passwords have been exposed) and, productivity (from the loss of corrupted files and documents which will need to be recreated).

If you run a business, the cost can be much higher. Businesses spend billions of dollars every year dealing with viruses – whether that’s cleaning up after them or trying to prevent them.

How does antivirus software work?

Programmers who study computer viruses, identify common pieces of code that exist in all families of a particular virus. From that, they’re able to create generic pieces of innocuous code which they load into the antivirus software. The software works by scanning your device and searching for any code that looks like the generic code. When the software finds a match, it shuts down the viral code.

antivirus software blog scanning

Antivirus software works by scanning for harmful pieces of code and deactivating them.

(And in case the analogy wasn’t clear: this is exactly what vaccines do. Vaccines are harmless pieces of a virus, paired with antivirus “technology” which your body uses to match and shut down (or at least minimize the effects of) the actual virus.)

Do I really need antivirus software?

The only digital device I use is a single computer that never leaves the house, doesn’t access the internet, doesn’t run any programs, and isn’t connected to any other devices. Basically I use my computer as a giant calculator.

If this is you, you can probably get away with not having antivirus software.

I have a Mac.

While traditionally this statement has given Mac users a pass on having to invest in antivirus software, even Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior VP of Software Engineering, recently stated that, “Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable.” Noted.

I don’t really care if my computer gets a virus. None of my files or photos are valuable to me. I’m happy to ditch it all and get a new device if necessary.

In this (unlikely but theoretically possible) case, we’d just like to say: consider others. You may not care about your music and memories, but chances are, other people in your family, workplace, and contact book do. They won’t be too happy when they discover it was your unprotected device that sent them an email with the subject line, “Hey, check out this really cool video I found that I think you’ll love” which they then opened in a moment of distraction (47% of employees cited distraction as the reason for falling for a phishing scam while working from home).

Ok, I’m convinced. What do I do now?

It wouldn’t be a proper tech challenge if we didn’t put some of the responsibility on you. Now’s the time for you to do a little investigation work and figure out what kind of antivirus software you need. PCMag provides an excellent breakdown of the best antivirus software on the market this year, along with the pros and cons of each one, and how much they cost. For the sake of your devices, your friends’ devices, your coworkers’ devices, your bank account, and your peace of mind, we beg you, take this month’s challenge seriously! And when you’re done, get revved up for next month’s challenge!