Watchdog eases rules on telephone rates

Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:10pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian telephone companies will soon be allowed to change their phone rates without the need for prior regulatory approval, the country's telecom watchdog said on Thursday.

Providers such as BCE Inc, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc will be able make immediate changes to their tariffs as of October 6, as long as the changes stay within previously imposed limits, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said in a statement.

The CRTC said the policy change would cut down on paperwork and make pricing procedures more efficient.

"This change enables the traditional telephone companies, as well as the CRTC, to streamline their operations without any impact on consumers," the regulator said.

"The commission will retain its powers to take corrective action should it find that a company has not abided by these rules."

Previously, proposed rate changes had to be submitted to CRTC with supporting evidence such as detailed costing studies, and then the agency would issue a decision.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson)

<p>A telephone booth is seen outside the offices of BCE Inc. in Montreal, June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>