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Bell Canada urges CRTC to refrain from price regulation of VoIP

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) should refrain from regulating prices for Vo...


June 18, 2004  


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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) should refrain from regulating prices for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services offered by Canada’s established phone companies, according to a joint submission being filed today by Aliant, Bell Canada, SaskTel and Tlbec.

“What we are opposed to are rules that stand in the way of delivering competitively-priced services to customers” said Lawson Hunter, executive vice president of Bell Canada Enterprises. “However, we do support social regulation such as access to 9-1-1 service and rights to privacy rules to the extent that these protect customers and the public interest.”

The submission is being filed as part of the CRTC proceeding underway to examine what rules, if any, should apply to companies offering VoIP services.

The CRTC has indicated it supports imposing rules for some VoIP services similar to those that currently apply to traditional local phone services.

This would leave incumbent carriers restricted by price regulation while cable companies and other VoIP competitors, including foreign-based service providers, would retain complete pricing flexibility, Bell said.

“Allowing all VoIP service providers to compete for customers according to the same rules would result in greater choice and continued investment in innovation,” added Hunter. “This approach is working in the delivery ofwireless services, broadband access and Internet applications. It will also work for VoIP services if given the chance.”

The submission points out that the Commission has forborne from regulating the Internet and that many VoIP services are applications delivered to users over the Internet. It further addresses the fact that barriers to enter the market are very low.

“It’s critical that the regulatory framework reflect the reality that VoIP has arrived, and that this is fundamentally altering the competitive landscape,” said Hunter.