The federal government is proposing new rules that it says will help make Internet more affordable and lower phone bills.
Ottawa will require the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to allow smaller Internet service providers to access the networks of large telecommunications companies and says it “must take steps to make wholesale rates available more timely and improved”.
But it won’t overturn a controversial CRTC ruling issued last year that overturned the regulatory agency’s own 2019 decision to cut fees that large telcos could charge smaller internet service providers for access to their services. broadband networks.
The government is also directing the CRTC to improve its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model and says it is prepared to move to a full MVNO model to support competition if necessary.
MVNOs are wireless providers that buy 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 address what it calls unacceptable sales practices and put in place new measures to improve clarity around pricing for services and the ability for customers to cancel or change services.
He also wants service providers to implement mandatory broadband tests so Canadians understand what they’re paying for.
Feds Unveil Plan to Make High-Speed Internet Cheaper for Low-Income Canadians
Smaller Internet Service Providers (ISPs) said they are cautiously optimistic about the new telecommunications policy directives.
But Brad Fisher, chief revenue officer for an independent telecommunications company, Distributel, says he is “disappointed” by Ottawa’s decision not to overturn last year’s ruling.
“It’s a missed opportunity to put money back in the pockets of Canadians,” he said.
After evaluating requests from smaller ISPs on the issue, Ottawa says it concluded that the 2019 tariffs included a number of errors and that it would be “irresponsible” to implement them. The government says that the tariffs implemented in 2016 will remain.
Fisher adds that the decision will make the market difficult for smaller ISPs, even though the government has provided a “clear set” of directives that are “pro-competitive in the long run.”
Meanwhile, telecoms researcher Ben Klass says the measures don’t do enough to support competition.
“This direction appears to be primarily an effort by the government to deflect attention from its refusal to address the CRTC’s lack of support for competition through fair rate regulation for internet providers,” he said.
Ottawa’s telecommunications policy proposal lands as concerns mount over Rogers Communications Inc.’s $26 billion acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc.
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