Friday, January 15, 2016

Mayor, councillor tangle over Internet access

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper
Mayor Jim Watson doesn’t think a telecom behemoth should be forced to share its high-speed Internet lines with smaller providers, prompting one councillor to speak up for consumers.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decided last year that Bell needs to give smaller competitors access its fibre optic infrastructure. Bell filed a petition to the federal cabinet asking for a review of the CRTC’s decision.

That’s where Watson comes in.

The mayor wrote a letter to the clerk of the privy council supporting Bell’s argument, particularly company claims that opening access to other Internet service providers would slow down its investment in fibre optic infrastructure.

“These investments would have been greatly welcome by our residents and the business community, given their positive impact on the quality of service as well as their potential for job creation in our city,” Watson writes in his letter.

Watson says the local economy would be negatively impacted by the CRTC’s decision.

The issue happens to be in Jeff Leiper’s wheelhouse.

Before being elected as councillor for Kitchissippi ward, Leiper worked for the Information and Communications Technology Council and the CRTC.

Leiper believes letting two massive Internet providers -- Bell and Rogers -- duke it out in the market isn’t enough to foster legitimate competition. He said cities should favour more competition for fibre optic Internet service.  (more...)

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