September 27, 2011 / 9:15 PM / in 6 years

Time is up for head of telecoms regulator

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The government will not reappoint Konrad von Finckenstein as chairman of the federal communications regulator, with whom it has clashed in recent years over Internet billing and foreign telecom investment.

<p>Konrad von Finckenstein, the chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, waits to testify before the Commons industry committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 3, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

“We thank Mr. von Finckenstein for his service as chair of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission),” Heritage Minister James Moore, said on Tuesday.

Moore gave no reason for not reappointing von Finckenstein, who will serve out the rest of his five-year term as head of the CRTC until January.

The Conservative government overruled the CRTC in December 2009 on its decision to block foreign-backed Globalive from launching a Canadian wireless service.

Von Finckenstein had ruled that Globalive’s financial support from Egypt’s Orascom Telecom made it ineligible to operate in Canada because of restrictions on foreign ownership of telecom companies.

The government determined instead that Globalive was a Canadian company, albeit with some foreign investment. That resulted in a long-running battle that saw an appeals court rule in favor of Ottawa in June.

The government also overruled a CRTC decision this year that would have allowed big Internet companies to implement usage-based billing systems that would effectively have stopped small providers from offering customers unlimited downloads.

Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson

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