Canada's internet code of conduct goes into effect for 10 big service providers

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Canada's 10 largest internet service providers will be required to make their pricing and contract terms easier to understand under a new mandatory code of behaviour that went into effect Friday.

The big ISPs account for more than 85 per cent of Canada's home internet service subscriptions, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The new Internet Code is the CRTC's answer to a soaring number of complaints about internet services, such as``bill shock'' caused by unexpected extra fees or price increases.

Among other things, the new rules permit customers to cancel a contract within 45 days, without paying early cancellation fees, if the contract differs from the offer.

The CRTC code also empowers the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services to require a big ISP to provide its customers with up to $5,000 in compensation per complaint.

The code applies only to specific internet providers, Bell Canada, Cogeco, Eastlink, Northwestel, Rogers Communications, SaskTel, Shaw Telecom, Telus, Videotron and Xplornet.