Copyright 2003 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star
September 24, 2003 Wednesday; Ontario Edition
Shaw Cablesystems is appealing to the federal telecommunications regulator to stop "anti-competitive" pricing by Telus Corp. in the high-speed Internet access business.
Shaw, Canada's second-largest cable-TV and Internet service provider, said yesterday it has filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission seeking an order "to ensure fair and sustainable competition in the high-speed Internet access market."
The cable unit of Shaw Communications Inc. said Telus has offered at least 18 promotions for its digital subscriber line Internet service to customers in Alberta and British Columbia in the past five months.
"These promotions are priced well below Telus' cost of service and extend beyond reasonably accepted periods of time for promotions," Shaw Communications president Peter Bissonnette stated.
Shaw wants the CRTC to forbid Telus from offering Internet promotional pricing at below-cost rates for introductory periods longer than three months. Shaw said its high-speed Internet service costs $42.95 per month, including lease of a cable modem, which is the same as the regular retail rate of Telus' high-speed service. It said recent Telus promotions drop this price to $16.95 a month for 12 months and $24.95 per month for three years.
"We're in favour of fair and sustainable competition because we believe it is in the best interests of the consumer," stated Jim Shaw, chief executive officer of Shaw Communications. "However, if these predatory pricing practices are permitted to continue, it could significantly reduce competition in the Internet access market in Western Canada; that is not in the best interests of serving Internet customers."