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September 15 , 2009

Campaign aimed at reversing CRTC decision

Ruling threatens retail internet competition,CAIP

The Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) has joined a group of telecom and business stakeholders, in launching an internet based "Campaign for Competitive Broadband" - to convince the federal government to scuttle a CRTC decision that would throttle competition in broadband Internet, Ethernet and other next generation communications services.

CAIP, MTS Allstream, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses and more than a dozen individual companies have collaborated in this campaign to educate and inform consumers of the pending risks to competition that may in turn lead to unconstrained monopoly pricing for broadband Internet services.

The goal of the campaign is to ensure that the network facilities built by incumbent telephone companies with the help of public subsidies are accessible to a wide range of competitors who want to offer services to businesses and consumers. Bell and TELUS, which control these networks in most parts of the country, would have the ability to shut out competitors if the CRTC decision is allowed to stand.

CAIP and the other participants in this campaign urge Canadians to learn about the risks to them if this decision is not reversed, by visiting www.competitivebroadband.com, and using the capabilities of the website to make their concerns known to Industry Minister Tony Clement and others in Ottawa.

"The competitive framework for broadband Internet services is hanging by a thread as a result of the CRTC decision" said Tom Copeland, Chairman of CAIP. "Independent service providers, in many cases, are the engine that is driving broadband expansion and coverage to small communities who may otherwise be overlooked in a single-supplier market. There must be a realization in the federal cabinet that a retreat to monopoly conditions will erode the natural incentive for expansion and innovation that only competition can provide."

Through www.competitivebroadband.com, CAIP is providing Canadians with an opportunity to learn about the issue, join a growing online petition, e-mail the federal government, the CRTC and their local MP, as well as encourage others to join the campaign.

"Independent telecommunications and Internet service providers enable communities to realize their full potential" said Keith Stevens, Chairman of Execulink Telecom, a full service telecommunications provider operating in South-western Ontario. "They offer a real alternative to companies such as Bell and TELUS while supporting their communities as employers, innovators, and community service agents. The CRTC decision removes the surety of a competitive framework that these independent companies need to compete effectively, and we all know that when competition falters it is the consumers who pay in terms of higher prices, diminished choice, and insufficient service."

CAIP has supported a petition filed by MTS Allstream to the federal cabinet asking it to take the necessary steps to have the CRTC recognize that competitive access to broadband and the Internet is essential for Canadians and Canadian businesses. The Campaign for Competitive Broadband encourages all Canadians to support this notion by visiting www.caip.ca.

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