The CRTC said yesterday that Canadian telephone customers have been overbilled to the tune of $652.7-million over the past few years, but the money will not be going back to them.So here we have a government (old Liberal government to be specific) that has a priority to expand broadband access in rural communities but instead of ponying up the cash to do it the CRTC gets private business to do it's dirty work for it.
The federal regulator ruled instead that telecommunications companies such as Bell Canada and Telus Corp. should use most of the money -- equivalent to about $50 a customer -- to expand offerings in underserved markets, primarily rural and remote communities.
CRTC chair Charles Dalfen told reporters yesterday that expanding broadband services, also known as high-speed Internet, is an important social and economic goal.
It has been a federal government priority for at least five years, although Ottawa has yet to allocate enough money to provide access in most rural and remote communities. "We think this is in the broader interests of the consumers," Mr. Dalfen said.
Could this be any more unbelievable? When exactly did Canadians give $650-million to the CRTC to piss away?
And on a different but related topic, why exactly is broadband access considered an important social goal? Since when did our government decide that online porn and gambling should become national priorities? Is this other one of those Liberal schemes (i.e. handouts) that are supposed to define us as Canadians?