Ontario Telecommunications Association

Ontario Telecommunications Association
Association des Compagnies de Telephone du Quebec

Association des Compagnies de Telephone du Quebec

February 06, 2012 10:00 ET

Canada's Independent Telephone Companies Petition Federal Cabinet to Vary CRTC Decisions

CRTC's ill-suited approach will undermine viability of companies and create a new digital divide

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 6, 2012) - The associations representing small independent telephone companies in Ontario (the Ontario Telecommunications Association - OTA) and in Quebec (L'Association des Compagnies de Téléphone du Québec - ACTQ) jointly petitioned the Federal Cabinet on Friday pursuant to section 12 of Canada's Telecommunications Act to vary the May 3, 2011 and November 28, 2011 decisions of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) concerning the introduction of local telephone competition in their serving areas.

ACTQ President Serge Desy stated, "The CRTC's proposed new approach to competition reflects urban, not rural realities. It will undermine the financial viability of local enterprises that have long played a vital role in their communities, and it will create a new digital divide in rural parts of Ontario and Quebec where none now exists."

Under the proposed CRTC model, local incumbent telephone companies will retain an obligation to serve all customers in their high cost serving areas, both in town and in more remote rural locations, while cable companies will be free to offer telephone service solely to customers in homes passed by their cable network, while ignoring potential customers located elsewhere in the area. In addition, the CRTC has changed the financial rules that have historically enabled the small incumbents to meet their obligation to provide a uniform, high quality service.

OTA Executive Director Jonathan Holmes added, "The perverse result of the CRTC scheme will be the eventual re-establishment in many areas of a single communications service provider, though one with no obligation or economic incentive to serve households in more remote and rural locations. Our companies believe we have served our customers and communities well; and we're confident the Cabinet will conclude that the CRTC decisions are ill-considered, unfair, and will do far more harm than good."

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