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CRTC VoIP decision ignores public interest: TWU

"The Commission dropped the ball with this decision," said Telecommunications Workers Union President Bruce Bell, r...

May 13, 2005  

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“The Commission dropped the ball with this decision,” said Telecommunications Workers Union President Bruce Bell, referring to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision on Voice over Internet Protocol.

“They focused totally on promoting competition among the companies that will provide the service,” Bell explained. “Their underlying assumption seems to be that by setting the terms of competition, the workings of the ‘free market’ will take care of everything else.

“This focus is way too narrow. The TWU has always taken the position that the CRTC’s most important responsibility is to ensure that all Canadians have universal, affordable access to the full range of communications services — wireline as well as the internet and VoIP. Nothing in this decision addresses that issue.”

He said that during the VoIP proceedings the TCU asked the Commission to consider the impact that growth of service will have on wireline subscribers.

“It’s great that the CRTC decided to regulate phone companies’ VoIP rates, but it should regulate the VoIP service that is provided by the cable companies, aswell.

“The Commission has a key role to play as protector of the public interest. It is not merely an arbiter responsible for ensuring that competitors providing a new service capture a certain amount of market share.

“This focus ignores the forest for the trees. Millions of Canadians who don’t have Internet access and who depend on wireline service rely on the CRTC to ensure that this service remains high in quality and affordable,” Bell said.