OTTAWA, ON and GATINEAU, QC, March 4, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today required Northwestel to lower the rates for certain residential Internet services by 10% to 30%. Northern Canadians who are clients of Northwestel could see a significant reduction applied to their monthly bills by May 4, 2015.
As a result of the CRTC's decision, Northwestel will be required to reduce its rates for residential low-speed Internet connections over a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) named DSL Internet Lite and DSL Internet 2 by 10%. Similarly, the company's rates for residential DSL Internet services featuring download speeds of 5 and 15 megabits per second named DSL Internet 5 and DSL Internet 15 will be required to come down by 30%. Northwestel will not be able to increase any residential Internet rates until the end of 2017 at the earliest, and will need to seek the CRTC's permission before doing so.
In addition, Northwestel will no longer be allowed to charge additional fees to customers who subscribe to Internet services on their own, rather than as part of a bundle with telephone service. This change will also take effect no later than May 4, 2015.
Finally, the CRTC is taking action to limit additional charges for Northwestel's residential customers who go over the usage allowance already included in their Internet data plans. As of February 2016, Northwestel must lower its charges for additional data usage by at least $0.50 per gigabyte.
In 2013, the CRTC found that there was limited competition in the market for retail Internet services offered using terrestrial facilities. Consequently, the CRTC decided that it would begin to regulate, on an exceptional basis, Northwestel's rates for these services.
With this decision, the CRTC is continuing to ensure that Canadians in Northwestel's operating territory, including those in many small and remote communities, can participate in the digital economy and contribute to the North's economic development.
The CRTC will initiate a major proceeding in the coming months to review basic telecommunication services in Canada in order to improve access to advanced and competitive communications services for all Canadians.
- The CRTC is directing Northwestel to lower its rates for certain residential Internet services by 10% to 30%.
- These new rates must be effective no later than May 4, 2015, and Northwestel will not be able to increase them until the end of 2017 at the earliest.
- The CRTC is directing Northwestel to reduce its additional data usage charges and to stop applying additional fees for stand-alone Internet services.
- The CRTC is ensuring that Canadians that live in northern and remote areas of the country can participate in the digital economy and contribute to their region's economic development.
- The CRTC will initiate a major proceeding in the coming months to review basic telecommunication services in Canada in order to improve access to advanced and competitive communications services for all Canadians.
"Although we recognize the exceptional situation that exists in Northwestel's territory, we must not let these challenges hinder the development and affordability of telecommunications services in the North. Access to reasonably priced Internet services plays an essential role in the North's economic and social development. With this decision, we are reducing the gap between what consumers pay for Internet services in the northern and southern parts of Canada."
Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC
Telecom Decision 2015-XX
Telecom Regulatory Policy 2013-711
Telecom Decision 2014-379
News release: CRTC acting to improve telecommunications services for northern Canadians (December 18, 2013)
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SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
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