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Can resellers lower your internet bill?

VANCOUVER -

Are you tired of paying high internet rates? There are companies out there called resellers that buy bulk broadband from the bit telecoms and then resell it to you.

Babbl is a new broadband reseller based in Richmond, B.C., that is promising to save you money on your monthly bill without locking you into a contract.

"Anywhere between 15 to maybe 25 per cent better," explained Jason Speers, Babbl founder.

Babbl started offering internet services in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island in September.

Speers, a former Shaw employee with 20 years in the business, said he saw a need to offer consumers discounted rates.

"It's really big business coming in and winning all the time,” he said. “What we want to do is provide a service where the average Canadian wins.”

By big business, he means the big telecoms, which successfully lobbied to scrap a 2019 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decision that effectively deep discounted the wholesale broadband rates offered to resellers. In 2021, everything went back to the way it was before, despite a 2020 announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committing to Canadians to expand broadband service.

"Good reliable internet isn't a luxury, it's a basic service," stated the prime minister.

As for lowering the rates, there has been little action.

"The average Canadian lost over the last five years," said Speers.

But he isn't giving up. He's hoping that consumers will turn to resellers like him. However, there are things you should consider first.

It's fairly easy to become an internet reseller. A search on the CRTC database showed 956 resellers of high speed retail internet service. Many may not be active. In fact, Speers believes there are only six active internet resellers in Western Canada.

The CRTC has little oversight on internet providers regarding the security and privacy of your information that flows through the reseller networks. That's where big name, big brand internet sellers have an advantage. Building trust takes time.

"It's the smart business move to build a secure network," explained Speers. He says he has surrounded himself with a team that has more than 100 combined years of experience in the industry. He says Babbl's service traffics on the existing Shaw network and has partnered with Amazon web services, does constant security sweeps of the network and employs its own security tactics.

Babbl doesn't have a call centre and says it is easy to sign up and cancel online at any time. The company sends you the equipment and you have to do the install yourself. Basically, plug the modem into existing cable outlets. If you have trouble, Speers says they can assist.

He says business is slowly growing. The biggest hurdles are building trust to gain new customers and getting the government to level the playing field further on wholesale broadband rates.

"Let's try to understand where a happy medium exits where we can both operate but really operate in a way that benefits the average consumer."

Before you leap, compare plans among several providers, ask lots of questions and check out the CRTC providers data base for more information.

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