The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled that Bell Canada and Telus must continue to provide wholesale bill-and-collect service (BCS) to alternative long-distance telephony providers in their respective incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) areas. BCS has been mandated for ILECs since 1992, and in June/August 2016 respectively, Bell and Telus applied to the CRTC for forbearance from the regulation, but in final twin decisions on 7 March 2018 the watchdog refused both applications, concluding that deregulation would be potentially harmful to competition. The CRTC noted that BCS is mainly used to support ‘casual’ long-distance service usage, enabling altnets to provide services to a local exchange customer without having a pre-existing billing relationship (or establishing a new one) with that customer. It added that this type of service ‘contributes to the welfare of vulnerable customers’ and furthermore ‘facilitates efficient network deployment by long-distance providers’.
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