Ottawa to review usage-based Internet billing

CRTC's decision may conflict with government policy

Industry Minister Tony Clement says he will review the CRTC’s decision to allow usage-based Internet billing, which would raise prices for consumers and business that currently receive unlimited web access. Last week, the federal telecommunications regulator announced that smaller Internet service firms, who provide unlimited access to customers by leasing network space from larger telecom companies, would now pay higher rates to those companies. The decision has generated torrents of criticism from Canadians who say higher usage fees will hinder innovation and competitiveness. “I am hearing from a lot of people who feel this will damage our economy,” said Clement in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “I have to be fair on these things – but I am hearing from people that they are worried this will stifle innovation because the cost of using Internet services will be prohibitively high.” Clement will study the decision to see if it is in line with government policy on competition and consumer choice, and may ask the CRTC to review its decision. The government has overruled by the telecom regulation once before. In 2009, the CRTC’s decision to block Egyptian-owned Globalive Communications from launching its wireless service in Canada based on foreign ownership rules was overturned.

The Globe and Mail

transCam (photo)

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