In attempts to increase competition in the telecommunications market, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has temporarily halted approval of winback promotions by incumbent wireline telecommunications providers and is inviting public comment on the issue.

Winback promotions are special incentives provided by incumbents to regain residential and business customers that strayed to competitors.

Announced Wednesday, the suspension came after a report released last December by the CRTC showed competition was virtually non-existent in the industry.

According to its second annual report on telecommunications competition, incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) provide more than 96 per cent of local lines in Canada, and receive more than 97 per cent of local telecommunications revenues.

“In light of our commitment to encouraging fair and sustainable competition in local telecommunications markets, the Commission considers this to be an appropriate initiative at this time,” said Charles Dalfen, chairman of the CRTC, in a statement.

The CRTC, based in Hull, Que., has given parties – including incumbents and competitors – the next 30 days to file submissions, and the suspension will last until a decision has been reached based on matters raised in the Public Notice.

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