Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Internet: CRTC seeks public input

OTTAWA - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is now requesting public comment on its controversial policy of charging for use in accessing the Internet, an initiative that would allow ISPs to charge more for heavy users of bandwidth.
The federal telecommunications regulator has postponed last week a reform that was initially entered into force on 1 March.
The CRTC said on Tuesday it wanted the public to suggest ways to balance the needs of consumers and those of ISPs, big and small.
Interested parties can make their views known to the CRTC until 29 April. Citizens are particularly encouraged to answer the question: "The CRTC should establish a minimum threshold for the sale of bandwidth large distributors to small providers and, if so, what should it be? .
The previous board's decision was strongly criticized as unfair to smaller ISPs and their customers. The CRTC has given great service providers permission to change their billing practices for wholesale services offered to small suppliers.
Critics of the bill say it would use smaller suppliers at a disadvantage, while the advocates of reform believe that heavy users of bandwidth should not have unlimited access to the Internet.
According to CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein, the concerns expressed by Canadians demonstrate how the Internet has become an integral part of their lives.
Mr. von Finckenstein added, however, that ordinary consumers should not have to subsidize the bandwidth used by leading consumer Internet.
He also argues that he was in the best interest of consumers and small service providers continue to offer a competitive alternative to major suppliers.
The Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement said that if the CRTC came back with the same scenario, it will be overthrown by the firm.

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