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Posts Tagged With: Konrad von Finckenstein
by Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to a public hearing
July 11, 2011
(Check against delivery)
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing.
The panel for this hearing consists of:
Len Katz, Vice-Chair of Telecommunications
Tom Pentefountas, Vice-Chair of Broadcasting
Timothy Denton, National Commissioner
Candice Molnar, Regional Commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Michel Morin, National Commissioner
Marc Patrone, National Commissioner
and myself, Konrad von Finckenstein, Chairman of the CRTC. I will be
presiding over this hearing.
The Commission team assisting us includes:
Tom Vilmansen, Hearing Manager and Manager, Costing Methods and
Crystal Hulley and James Wilson, Legal Counsel, and
Lynda Roy, Hearing Secretary.
Wholesale high-speed access services
The Commission is holding this hearing to review how large telephone and
cable companies charge their wholesale customers, the independent Internet
service providers (ISPs), for the use of their networks.
The market for Internet services has evolved significantly over the last
decade. Canadians can access the Internet in many ways and use innovative
online services and applications. Maintaining a competitive marketplace in
which Canadians have a choice of ISPs is one of the Commission’s primary
For this reason, the large companies are currently required share their
networks with independent ISPs under rates, terms, and conditions approved
by the Commission. This allows the independent ISPs to offer alternative
services to Canadians.
Last year, after considering the issue on two separate occasions, we
determined that large telephone companies must make their wholesale
high-speed access services available to independent ISPs at the same
speeds as those offered to their own retail customers. This covers all
speeds, including the most recent higher-speed options.
At the same time, we imposed more stringent obligations on cable companies
to ensure their third-party Internet access services are an acceptable
equivalent to the wholesale services offered by telecommunications
In 2009, the Bell companies applied for permission to impose additional
charges to independent ISPs when their individual customers exceed monthly
download limits. Some of the cable companies already had usage-based
billing in place for their wholesale customers. Bell wanted to adopt a
similar pricing model as an incentive for users to stay within their
limits and to help manage traffic on its network. We approved Bell’s
request at the end of a lengthy process that included several decisions.
This past February, the Commission announced that it would review its
decisions in light of the concerns expressed.
During the current proceeding, parties have proposed new pricing models
for wholesale high-speed access services that take into account the total
bandwidth used by the customers of independent ISPs. As we understand
them, the proposals do not force independent ISPs to implement download
limits or include additional charges based on the usage of their
The pricing model for wholesale high-speed access services should drive
large companies and independent ISPs to invest in their respective
networks and maximize innovation. In addition, we will examine the
proposals with a view to providing independent ISPs the flexibility to
offer innovative services and pricing options.
As part of this proceeding, the Commission will make a final determination
on the rates for wholesale residential high-speed access services. The
interim rates we recently set will remain in effect until such a time as
the Commission renders its decision, which could include retroactive
It should be noted that we issued interim rates to ensure competitors have
access to the services they need. Any delays would have affected their
ability to provide consumers with more choice. As we previously indicated,
parties should not draw any inferences from this interim step, given its
short and transitory nature.
Lastly, let me repeat that this hearing deals only with wholesale rates.
We believe that retail rates (i.e. the prices charged by ISPs to
consumers) are best set by the market. This issue has not and will not be
part of the Commission’s considerations.
I would now invite the Hearing Secretary, Lynda Roy, to explain the
procedures we will be following. Madam Secretary…