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PIAC: Local Telephone Customers Will Pay the Price for Deregulation

August 3, 2007
For immediate release
Attention: News/Business Editors

OTTAWA—Ordinary consumers will pay the price for today’s deregulation of Canada’s major urban local telephone markets by the CRTC, says the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. The Commission today released decisions deregulating local exchange services for most local telephone exchanges in Ontario and Quebec, many in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and larger urban areas in Alberta and B.C. Today’s series of decisions result from the intervention of Industry Minister Maxime Bernier earlier this year to overrule the CRTC and let Canada’s big telephone companies, including Bell Canada, TELUS, MTS Allstream and Sasktel, escape regulation earlier than previously determined. Industry Minister Bernier has promised that hastening local telephone service deregulation will lead to lower telephone rates for consumers.

PIAC doesn’t think so. “ Telephone services are going the way of banking services- any discounts will be for big customers and the competition will not be strong enough to produce real benefits for ordinary consumers” said Michael Janigan, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa. “And there will be no CRTC oversight to ensure quality of service does not go down at the same time.”

John Lawford, PIAC legal counsel noted: “If you are a high volume customer who threatens to move your business to another carrier such as a cable company you might negotiate a better rate. But average consumers will have to eventually foot the bill for those individual discounts and will carry the full weight of telephone companies’ drives to increase profit. It could get expensive.”

PIAC participated in all CRTC and government processes associated with telephone deregulation on behalf of ordinary and vulnerable residential consumers.

For more information:

Michael Janigan
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
1204 – 1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON
K1S 2P1

Tel: 613-562-4002×26
(613) 562-0007 (Fax)

John Lawford
Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 562-0007 (Fax)

jlawford@piac.ca

 

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