Bulk Internet and Programming Services

April 2024

Internet access has become an essential service.

Developers are including bulk internet and programming services in new condominium buildings.  Beanfield Metro, a local provider of these services, is asking the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) to disallow these arrangements.

The practice of developers arranging bulk agreements for new buildings has become increasingly common over the past five years.  These bulk agreements, which typically cover the first five to eight years after the condo building is built, have residents pay for internet, and possibly television, service as part of their condo fees.

Older condominium communities are adding bulk services as a way to help residents lower their expenses and as part of including building-wide internet access throughout all common areas.  Savings can be more than 60 percent over what is paid when these services are purchased individually by residents.  Carriers benefit from efficiencies inherent in signing up an entire building for its services rather than obtaining business one unit at a time.

While other service providers are allowed to sell their services in a building covered by a bulk service, few are interested in paying a second time for services included in their monthly fees.  Beanfield argues that the use of “bulk agreements … effectively eliminate end-user choice” and “constitute an undue advantage” that limits competition.

Beanfield estimates that bulk deals are in place for close to half of all new condominium and apartment developments in the Toronto area.

Should Beanfield prevail, condo fees and rent will be slightly lower while owners and tenants pay substantially more subscribing to these services.