Friday, July 14, 2023

Short Takes: Paying Cash, Breaking up Telcos, and more

I’ve noticed an increase in the number of businesses offering discounts for paying in cash.  I’m happy to see this for two reasons.  One is that those who pay in cash (or some equivalent)  have been subsidizing credit card users who collect various perks at others’ expense.  The second is that I’m happy to have some of my purchases not contribute transaction fees to Canada’s banking oligopoly.

Here are some short takes and some weekend reading:

has some advice for the CRTC aimed at improving competition among internet providers.  The most interesting one is to “Examine functional or structural separation, where large providers are split into two distinct companies. Under such an arrangement, one company owns and operates a network and sells wholesale access to it to all comers on an equitable basis. The other purchases that access on the same terms and rates as every other competitor, and then offers it to customers as retail internet service. Canada's big telcos currently do not want wholesale-based ISPs to exist so they are intent on killing them off – splitting them in two would change that.”

Tom Bradley at Steadyhand
makes the case for focusing on the fund returns that clients get (money-weighted returns) rather than funds’ time-weighted returns.  This puts the focus on helping clients improve their investing behaviour.

Robb Engen at Boomer and Echo explains the pitfalls in the ways people try to avoid probate fees.


  1. Without separating the network operator from the service provider into separate companies, it's hard to imagine how the reseller model can really work. As a combined entity, it's too hard for a regulator like the CRTC to truly see the actual costs of the network operation, and the large incumbents will always be able to make a plausible case that the truly "fair" price isn't fair. The smaller service providers like TekSavvy don't have the resources to effectively lobby the CRTC and more importantly also don't have the hard facts as to what constitutes a fair price. But the fact that lobbying the CRTC for change is a necessary part of the existing model screams inefficiency.

    Some of TekSavvy's other suggestion might allow smaller players to survive, but IMO the only real solution is ensuring the network operator and service provider at arm's length by separating them into separate companies.

    1. Whether this step is enough isn't clear to me, but it would at least be a start. Canada suffers from too many monopolies and oligopolies.