Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ottawa's VoIP decision good news: SaskTel

People at SaskTel are happy about the federal government's decision not to regulate certain kinds of internet phone service.

Originally, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ordered that SaskTel and the other big telephone companies would be regulated when they rolled out their voice over internet protocol services.

In other words, whenever they introduced new services or changed prices, they'd have to get permission from the CRTC.

However, upstart companies offering VoIP service wouldn't be regulated the same way. SaskTel and the other phone companies complained that wasn't fair.

Now, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet has overruled the CRTC and said phone company VoIP services over the public internet won't be subject to price regulation. VoIP over a phone company's own network will continue to be regulated, however.

SaskTel vice-president John Meldrum said Ottawa's decision Wednesday should help his company sell its planned "web call" service.

"We'll be free to price our VoIP products as we see fit, as the market determines, without having to go to the commission, without having to be told that the price is too low," he said.

Meldrum said SaskTel wants less regulation from Ottawa and hopes the same approach applied to the VoIP case will apply to other phone services.