Minister says telecom regulator may have erred with wholesale rate decision

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The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development announced the Federal government's $90 million contribution. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

OTTAWA — The federal government says it’s concerned that a controversial regulatory decision last year may undermine investments in Canada’s communications networks, particularly in rural and remote areas.

However, a statement issued this morning by Navdeep Bains, on behalf of the federal cabinet, says it won’t intervene in the CRTC’s ongoing review of its own decision about wholesale internet rates.

That CRTC decision issued Aug. 15, 2019, has been praised by Canada’s independent internet service providers but denounced by the large phone and cable companies who say the rates would be far too low.

BCE’s Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Inc. and their allies argued the CRTC overstepped its authority by cutting wholesale capacity rates by up to 43 per cent and chopping access rates up to 77 per cent.

Their wholesale customers — labelled “resellers” by their detractors and “independents” by their supporters — argue that the CRTC’s decision would end years of over charging by the big carriers.

In his statement, the federal minister for innovation, science and industry called on all parties to cooperate with the CRTC’s review process to reach a timely conclusion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 15 , 2020

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The Canadian Press