News | 05/16/2005 4:00 am EDT
Bell, TELUS must file VoIP tariffs, rules CRTC
The CRTC ruled that it would continue regulating Voice over IP services as a form of local telephony in a decision Bell Canada and TELUS Corp. officials said that they would appeal to Cabinet. On May 12, the CRTC ruled that incumbent telcos would continue to have to file tariff applications with the commission when selling services in-territory. The regulator reached its determination after deciding that VoIP services are functionally the same as traditional phone services. The lengthy decision noted that there will be no special treatment for what were dubbed “access-independent” services in the run-up to the ruling; that the ILECs enjoy special advantages in selling VoIP; that it would be relatively easy to turn access-independent into access-dependent subscribers; that no special incentive is needed to convince ILECs to upgrade their networks; that local number portability will be mandated, that it will mandate equal access for IXCs; that no winback rules will be applied to cablecos, but that they will be in place for one year for ILECs; that message relay service will only be required where technically feasible; that privacy safeguards must be enforced, though where technically not feasible the company must inform the customer and receive consent; that cablecos must register as CLECs to offer local exchange services, and that some key definitions will be changed to ensure that VoIP services are subject to contribution rules. While Bell and TELUS were quick to denounce the decision – as an “historic mistake” in Bell’s case – others including CLECs and the cablecos were eager to praise the decision. Network Letter will have the full story in its upcoming regular issue.