The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) confirms that the new wholesale rates for independent internet service providers (ISPs) will be implemented on 1 February 2012. The large telephone and cable companies will proceed as scheduled with their proposed implementation plans, with the exception of the Bell group companies, whose implementation plan has been modified on an interim basis while the CRTC resolves issues raised by the Canadian Network Operators Consortium. ‘We are moving ahead with the implementation as planned to ensure that independent ISPs will continue to offer competitive and innovative services to Canadians,’ said Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s acting chairman, adding that ‘Some temporary adjustments have been made to ensure a smooth transition to the new billing regime and to ensure consumers are not inconvenienced.’ As an interim measure, independent ISPs who are customers of the Bell companies will have the flexibility to either merge their business and residential internet traffic, or keep them separate. In November 2011 the CRTC established how large telephone and cable companies should charge independent ISPs for the use of their networks. In the case of wholesale residential and business services, the large telcos/cablecos may charge a flat monthly fee regardless of how much bandwidth customers of the independent ISPs use. The flat-rate model took effect on 15 November 2011. These decisions affect only the wholesale services the large telephone and cable companies provide to independent ISPs. The CRTC does not regulate the rates or packages that ISPs offer to consumers (see Telecom Order CRTC 2012-60 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2012/2012-60.htm).
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