Thursday, February 04, 2010

Prince Rupert Business line owners could pay more to CityWest in March

Prince Rupert's beleaguered business class can add on one more expense this spring, as CityWest announces pending increases to their business line services effective in March.

In a release posted to their website, the city owned telecommunications company outlined its application to the CRTC to increase rates from $37.88 per month to $42.88, explaining that the company has not increased the business line rate in Prince Rupert since June of 2007. (see application from CRTC website here)

By way of further background on their request CityWest provided on their website a comparison between Terrace and Prince Rupert business line costs, which shows the cost in Terrace currently is at $74.61 per month, which as they state is still significantly higher than the new proposed rate change.

If approved by the CRTC, the new rates would include such services as Individual Business Lines, Business Fax Lines, Business Digby Lines, Business 800 Service Lines, Off Premise Business Lines and Payphones.

In addition to those increases, CityWest also intends to seek approval for increases to the data line rates from $42.05 per month to $45.45 per month.

Also on the website, and something that we're sure won't escape the eyes of local business operators is the review of the recent expansion of services in Kitimat, the completion of the fibre optic link to that city and the recent purchase of a new office building to serve that city.

Local businesses in Rupert may wonder perhaps just how much of their monthly contributions to the CityWest coffers is being used in the ambitious expansion plans, all while local users find the cost of their existing services is on the increase, reducing that locally owned advantage with every requested increase.

The rate increase request comes shortly after CityWest outlined for a Chamber of Commerce audience how they believed that 2010 was on track to be the best year on record, a success story that those paying the increased rate load may now have a few questions about.

We wonder if during that good news discussion if they advanced the proposed rate structure to that group back in January, especially since they made their request to the CRTC five days after the Chamber of Commerce discussion time.

On the Citywest website is the statement of Consumer Rights, including a link to a document from the CRTC outlining those rights of customers. Included in the reading is an item from page thirteen which advises that customers have the right to express their comments and concerns and the right to participate in CRTC proceedings.

Locals who may wish to take advantage of those rights and comment on the proposed rate increases can contact the CRTC through their website, with an online submission form to offer their thoughts on.

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