CRTC pushes Big Telecom to be more transparent, to set the stage for more choice for Canadians
Pro-Internet community lauds CRTC decision to open up Big Telecom’s costing process
October 26, 2012 – The CRTC announced today that Big Telecom will have to reveal more of its costing process to the public. Now, much of the “confidential” information submitted by Big Telecom to establish wholesale rates will be put on public record.
Today’s decision addresses some of the concerns expressed by independent ISPs during the fight against usage-based billing (see the StopTheMeter.ca campaign). These small providers have argued that Big Telecom arbitrarily hikes wholesale prices and that this price-hiking has led to increasingly limited competition and subsequent price increases for their customers. With these price hikes in mind, Canadians have been calling on the CRTC for a "stop to backdoor Internet price hikes and a transparent review of Big Telecom’s rates.”
Though this decision will contribute to preventing Big Telecom from limiting choice in the Internet service market, Canada still has a long way to go before its telecommunications industry is truly competitive.
“This represents a key part of a huge shift,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “The CRTC has been the site of some major changes as the pro-Internet community has gotten more and more active. The Commission has moved from being very industry-centric and closed-off, to becoming an increasingly public interest-oriented regulatory body. We’re pleased to see the Commission working towards transparency and we hope this continues.”
In announcing the consultation that preceded this decision earlier this year, the CRTC mentioned the role that Big Telecom transparency would play in serving the public interest:
The Commission considers that it is in the public interest to obtain as full and complete a record as possible on which to base its decisions with respect to rates for wholesale services. It further considers that it is in the public interest that this information should be obtained on as timely a basis as possible.
The CRTC has made two other public interest-oriented decisions this month: one with the aim of developing national rules to protect cell phone users, and another that blocked Bell’s takeover of Astral Media.
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca