Ottawa unveils new CRTC rules aimed at lowering phone and internet prices – National

The federal government is proposing new rules that it says will help make the internet more affordable and lower phone bills.

Ottawa will demand that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) allow small Internet service providers to access the networks of large telecommunications companies and declare that it “must take measures to have more convenient wholesale tariffs and improved”.

But that won’t undo a controversial CRTC ruling last year that overturned the regulator’s own 2019 decision to slash the fees that big telcos could charge small internet service providers for internet. access to their broadband networks.

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The government is also asking the CRTC to improve its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model and says it is ready to move to a full MVNO model to sustain competition if necessary.

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MVNOs are wireless service providers that purchase cell phone network service from large carriers at a wholesale rate and then sell access to customers at a more affordable rate.

Ottawa is also asking the CRTC to tackle what it calls unacceptable sales practices and put in place new measures to clarify the pricing of services and the possibility for customers to cancel or modify services.

He also wants service providers to implement mandatory broadband testing so Canadians know what they’re paying for.

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Federal government unveils plan to make high-speed internet cheaper for low-income Canadians

Federal government unveils plan to make high-speed internet cheaper for low-income Canadians – April 4, 2022

Small Internet Service Providers (ISPs) said they were cautiously optimistic about the new telecommunications policy guidelines.

But Brad Fisher, chief revenue officer of independent telecommunications company Distributel, said he was “disappointed” with Ottawa’s decision not to reverse last year’s decision.

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“It’s a missed opportunity to put money back in the pockets of Canadians,” he said.

After evaluating petitions from smaller ISPs on the issue, Ottawa says it concluded that the 2019 tariffs had a series of errors and that it would be “irresponsible” to implement them. The government says the rates put in place in 2016 will remain in place.

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Fisher adds that the decision will make the market tough for smaller ISPs, although the government has provided a “clear set” of guidance that is “longer-term pro-competition”.

Meanwhile, telecommunications researcher Ben Klass says the metrics don’t do enough to sustain competition.

“This direction appears to be primarily an effort by the government to deflect attention from its refusal to address the CRTC’s inability to sustain competition through fair price regulation for internet service providers,” he said. declared.

Ottawa’s telecommunications policy proposal lands as concerns grow over Rogers Communications Inc.’s $26 billion acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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