Statement from the Chairman of the CRTC on usage-based billing

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, February 3, 2011 —The Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., today made the following statement in an appearance before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology of the House of Commons:
“Our decisions were set to take effect on March 1, 2011. We have since received from Bell Canada a request that we delay the implementation date by 60 days. A party from our last proceeding, Vaxination Informatique, has also filed a request for a delay.

In light of these requests and the evident concerns expressed by Canadians, the Commission has decided to:

  1. Delay the implementation of usage-based billing for wholesale customers by at least 60 days.
  2. Launch, of our own motion, a review of our decision to verify that:
    1. it protects consumers
    2. those who use the Internet heavily pay for their excess use, and
    3. Small ISPs retain maximum flexibility and continue to be a key source of innovation in the industry.

I would like to reiterate the Commission’s view that usage-based billing is a legitimate principle for pricing Internet services. We are convinced that Internet services are no different than other public utilities, and the vast majority of Internet users should not be asked to subsidize a small minority of heavy users. For us, it is a question of fundamental fairness. Let me restate: ordinary users should not be forced to subsidize heavy users.

In addition, we want to be absolutely certain that the modalities we have established are the most flexible under the circumstances and do not hinder innovation or harm Small ISPs.

A document outlining the terms of the review will be posted on our website this coming Monday.”


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