CRTC ponders forbearance, VoIP, price caps

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has weighed in on several other issues of importance to people using telecom services.Other current regulatory matters include:
Local forbearance: The CRTC is considering conditions under which it would stop regulating local phone service – “the last great bastion of tariff-based regulation,” says Lorne Abugov, partner at law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt. The commission might set a milestone that, when reached in the future, would trigger forbearance. Ken Engelhart, vice-president regulatory at Rogers Communications Inc., proposes forbearance when competitors gain 30 per cent of the market. Chris Peirce, senior vice-president of regulatory and government affairs at MTS Allstream Inc., says trying to preset triggering conditions for a sudden change would be a mistake, and instead the regulator should relax its regulation of local services gradually. A CRTC decision is expected this spring.
Voice Over IP: The CRTC decided last spring that VoIP services provided by incumbents should be subject to economic regulation. The incumbents have appealed the decision to the federal cabinet, which has until May 2006 to rule.
Wireless Number Portability: The CRTC announced proceedings in September on the issue of moving numbers among wireless carriers and between wireless and wireline services. The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) has said it plans to implement portability by September 2007, but some say it should not take that long.
Price Caps: In 1999, the CRTC made a historic switch from rate-of-return regulation to capping incumbents’ prices. The initial price-cap rules were revised after two years, and another review was expected this year, but in May the CRTC proposed to extend the present price-cap regime for two more years. After accepting submissions on this proposal, the commission has yet to announce its final decision.

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Grant Buckler
Grant Buckler
Freelance journalist specializing in information technology, telecommunications, energy & clean tech. Theatre-lover & trainee hobby farmer.

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