The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released, on February 26, the results of its fact-finding process on the role of payphones in the Canadian communications system.
The report, Results of the fact-finding process on the role of payphones in the Canadian communications system, clearly shows that the use of payphones by Canadians is decreasing steadily. Compared to 2004, when 50% of Canadians reported occasionally using these services, today only 32% of Canadians report having used a payphone at least once over the course of the year.
However, the CRTC recognizes that payphones are important in society because of their accessibility, their one-time per-use cost and unlimited time for local and toll-free calls. To protect the public interest, the CRTC is proposing that all incumbent telephone companies be obligated to notify communities affected, including municipalities and First Nations, before removing the last public telephone. Companies would also have to notify communities before removing a public telephone where wireless service is not available. Canadians living in rural and urban communities would have the opportunity to give their opinions to local authorities regarding the removal of certain payphones.
Furthermore, the CRTC wants to ensure that the notices regarding charges for calls made by credit card, telephone card or another non-cash method are sufficiently clear.
Canadians are invited to submit their comments on these issues by March 30, 2015. The CRTC encourages Canadians to participate by:
* completing the online form;
* writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2;
* sending a fax to 1-819-994-0218.
In 2013, the CRTC imposed a moratorium preventing large telephone companies from removing the last payphone in a community. The moratorium will be maintained until the CRTC has made its decision.
Payphones still play an important role in Canadian society, though their use continues to decrease steadily. The CRTC is proposing that all incumbent telephone companies be obligated to notify communities affected, including municipalities and First Nations, before removing the last public telephone. Canadians living in rural and urban communities would have the opportunity to give their opinions to local authorities regarding the removal of certain payphones. The CRTC wants to ensure that the notices regarding the charges for non-cash calls are sufficiently clear.
"Although payphones are no longer used as much as in the past, they continue to play an important role in society and serve the public interest. For this reason, we want to make sure that Canadians are notified when certain payphones are removed in their communities, and that they have the opportunity to share their concerns with local authorities. These authorities will be empowered to respond to the needs of their communities." Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC