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MPs rake CRTC chairman over Internet-billing coals

Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, waits to testify before the Commons industry committee on Feb. 3, 2011.

CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

The Harper government plans to overturn a CRTC decision that effectively ends "unlimited use" Internet plans if the regulator doesn't rescind it itself.

Industry Minister Tony Clement made the surprise announcement late Wednesday night via Twitter after a massive consumer backlash and criticism from political opponents who fear the decision makes Canada a " digital backwater.".

Given the ultimatum, the independent regulator can either reconsider the ruling of its own volition or see the Tory cabinet use its power to reverse it. The path it follows will likely become clear Thursday afternoon, when CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein appears before a Commons committee to explain the decision.

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The Globe will provide live coverage of the hearing beginning at 4 p.m. ET with business reporter Steve Ladurantaye tweeting live from Centre Block, telecom reporter Iain Marlow offering his take on industry fallout from Toronto and parliamentary correspondent Steven Chase explaining the political calculus from our Ottawa bureau.

Follow the action in the panel below. Mobile users can click here for a Blackberry and iPhone friendly interface.



<iframe src="http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=2a146a88f7/height=650/width=460" scrolling="no" height="650px" width="460px" frameBorder ="0" allowTransparency="true" ><a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=2a146a88f7" >CRTC chief explains Internet billing decision</a></iframe>


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