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Canadians Asked to Help Develop National Code for Wireless Services
Source: theprovince.com
Source Date: Friday, October 12, 2012
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Canada
Created: Oct 16, 2012

Canadians are being asked for help to develop a national retail code for wireless services like cellphones and tablets.

The CRTC said Thursday that it's asking for help because consumers have said their monthly contracts are confusing and the terms and conditions can vary greatly from one wireless company to another.

"Our goal is to make sure that Canadians have the tools they need to make informed choices in a competitive marketplace," CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a news release.

The federal telecom regulator said consumers are being asked for their opinions on the terms and conditions that should be addressed by such a code and how the rules should be enforced, for example.

The CRTC said a national code will help Canadians better understand their rights as consumers as well as set out the responsibilities of wireless companies.

Canadians can participate online or write to the CRTC to give their views. The CRTC will also hold a public hearing on the matter Jan. 28 in Gatineau, Que.

Telus, which asked for a national code last spring, said a consistent set of national standards would benefit consumers.

"They ensure that all Canadians enjoy the same safeguards, same terms of service," said Telus spokesman Shawn Hall.

Hall said each province having its own standards and rules would be "inefficient and could be unfair for Canadians."

"Rather than having 12 regional debates about this, it makes sense to come together to have one national conversation that ensures all Canadians are treated the same," Hall said from Vancouver.

Canada's major telecom companies — Rogers (TSX:RCI.B), Bell (TSX:BCE) and Telus (TSX:T) — and consumer advocacy groups all support the idea of national standards that would apply to wireless devices. However they haven't all agreed on how those rules would work.

(By LuAnn LaSalle)
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