The CRTC is mov­ing to cre­ate an in­ter­net code of con­duct.

National Post (National Edition) - - FINANCIAL POST - Emily Jack­son

Canada’s tele­com reg­u­la­tor may slap more rules on large in­ter­net ser­vice providers in the face of ris­ing com­plaints about their ser­vices.

On Fri­day, the Cana­dian Ra­dio-tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion launched a pro­ceed­ing to es­tab­lish a manda­tory code of con­duct for in­ter­net ser­vice providers to ad­dress prob­lems of con­tract clar­ity, bill shock and bar­ri­ers to switch­ing ser­vice providers.

There are al­ready codes for wire­less and tele­vi­sion ser­vices. The wire­less code, which ef­fec­tively axed three-year con­tracts and capped muchloathed roam­ing and data over­age fees, was costly for providers to im­ple­ment.

With in­ter­net ac­cess in­creas­ingly crit­i­cal to Cana­di­ans, it’s no shock the CRTC is mov­ing to­ward a code. Yet the tim­ing of a call sur­prised the in­dus­try.

The CRTC just wrapped up a gov­ern­ment-man­dated pub­lic in­quiry into whether tele­com providers use ag­gres­sive or mis­lead­ing sales prac­tices. At the Oc­to­ber hear­ing, an in­ter­net code was dis­cussed as a po­ten­tial so­lu­tion. Many in­ter­net-re­lated com­plaints stemmed from the point of sale, where nu­mer­ous cus­tomers re­ported a mis­match be­tween what they thought they agreed to buy and the ac­tual price or ser­vice they re­ceived.

De­spite the over­lap be­tween the two files, the CRTC said the two pro­ceed­ings are dis­tinct. It called for pub­lic com­ments on whether an in­ter­net code is needed, what should be in it and how it will be im­ple­mented, ad­min­is­tered and en­forced.

“While in­ter­net ser­vices play an im­por­tant role in the ev­ery­day lives of Cana­di­ans, the num­ber of com­plaints has been trend­ing up and we are of the view that a code for th­ese ser­vices may be needed,” CRTC chair Ian Scott said in a state­ment.

The Com­mis­sion for Com­plaints for Tele­com-Tele­vi­sion Ser­vices (CCTS), the watch­dog that con­sumers turn to as a last re­sort, re­ported a 38-per-cent in­crease in com­plaints about in­ter­net ser­vices in its 2016-17 re­port.

The code will not ad­dress prices, com­pe­ti­tion, whole­sale is­sues, ad­ver­tised broad­band speeds, in­ter­net traf­fic man­age­ment, pri­vacy or con­tent on the in­ter­net.

The CRTC rec­om­mended the new rules only ap­ply to in­cum­bent cable and phone providers such as Rogers, Shaw, Vidéotron, Telus, BCE Inc. and SaskTel. Th­ese play­ers serve 87 per cent of the mar­ket. Smaller providers such as TekSavvy (there are 550 such re­sellers across Canada) would not be sub­ject to the code.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.