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Bell Canada calls on CRTC to lift ban on local service promotions

Bell Canada today called on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to lift its susp...


March 11, 2005  


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Bell Canada today called on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to lift its suspension of promotional offers linked to local phone service, a move it says would deliver to Canadians the benefits of lower prices and more competition.

In its submission to the CRTC, Bell highlights a November 2004 roadcasting decision that acknowledges promotions are in the public interest.

As part of that decision, the Commission reaffirmed an earlier view that promotional offers are a legitimate business practice regardless of how competitive a particular cable television market is.

“Lifting the suspension of phone company local service promotions would be in the best interests of Canadian consumers and businesses,” said Mirko Bibic, Chief, Regulatory Affairs, Bell Canada.

“Competitors, including cable companies, are free to offer promotions as they see fit. Lifting the suspension would allow Bell to offer promotions on the same basis as competitors, and the result would be lower prices and increased competition for customers.”

The CRTC prohibited local service promotions and special winback offers from Bell and Canada’s other incumbent phone companies over two years ago, announcing at that time that it was “temporarily” suspending consideration ofany such applications.

Bell’s submission also raises a number of legal concerns. In particular, it questions whether the CRTC has the authority to let a temporary measure become permanent without affected parties — including service providers andcustomers — having the right to comment on the appropriateness of such a step in advance.

“The CRTC’s justifications for imposing the suspension are simply not appropriate,” said Bibic. “What started over two years ago as a temporary measure by the CRTC is now effectively operating as an outright ban on promotions that Bell can offer local service customers. This ban isunnecessary and customers should not be denied the benefits of competition and lower prices.”