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Harper government calls on the CRTC to deregulate certain VoIP Services

Federal Industry Minister Maxime Bernier said today that the government has varied a decision by the Canadian Radio...

November 15, 2006  

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Federal Industry Minister Maxime Bernier said today that the government has varied a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The government is calling on the CRTC to refrain from economic regulation of certain Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

“Canada’s telecommunications landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, and it’s time for our regulatory approach to evolve as well,” said Bernier.

“A more competitive environment will translate into greater choice, newer products and better services for the Canadian consumer.”

Earlier this year, the Governor in Council had referred Telecom Decision CRTC 2005-28, Regulatory Framework for Voice Communications Services Using Internet Protocol, back to the CRTC for reconsideration.

This decision was re-examined in light of the increased demand for VoIP services, recent changes to the regulatory environment and the recommendations of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel (TPRP).

In its reconsideration, the CRTC confirmed its original decision.

In June of this year, Bernier had tabled a proposed policy direction to the CRTC, signaling the government’s intention to direct the CRTC to rely on market forces to the maximum extent feasible under the Telecommunications Act and regulate only when necessary.

“The government’s variance of the CRTC’s decision is another step towards deregulation and is consistent with the proposed policy direction we introduced this year,” he said.

“Our goal is to reshape telecommunications policy so that it supports an internationally competitive and robust telecommunications industry here in Canada.”

Following the announcement, Nortel Networks Inc. issued a statement saying the move is encouraging for Canadian businesses and consumers who ultimately benefit by the advanced applications and services enabled through IP-based technologies.

These technologies are not only capable of delivering multimedia services to users but are changing the way companies that deliver these services compete in the marketplace, it said.