OTTAWA-GATINEAU, July 16, 2013 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) denied an application by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant Regional Communications and Télébec to increase local payphone rates up to $1 for cash calls and up to $2 for calls charged to a credit card or other forms of payment.
The Bell companies had indicated that if payphone rates were permitted to increase, revenues would likely improve, which would slow the rate at which payphones are being removed. The CRTC recognizes that the telecommunications industry has changed substantially in recent years as the majority of Canadians have adopted wireless services. At the same time, the number of payphones operated by the telephone companies has declined along with public demand for those services.
“This trend is likely to continue regardless of the rate charged for payphone services, and highlights the need to reassess the role of payphones,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC.
In a consultation launched today, the CRTC is inviting Canadians to share their views on the role of payphones in the Canadian communication system. The CRTC is also seeking comments on whether it would be appropriate to prohibit telephone companies from removing the last payphone in a community until the conclusion of this fact-finding process and, if required, any related follow-up process.
“This consultation will give us a clearer picture of how payphones are being used and by whom,” said Mr. Blais. “It will also help us assess how possible rate increases and the removal of payphones may affect Canadians, and whether any regulatory action is necessary.”
Comments on the removal of the last payphone in a community are due August 13, 2013 while those for the fact-finding process are due October 22, 2013. The CRTC encourages Canadians to participate by submitting their comments by:
Consultation on the use of payphones in Canada
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
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