The federal government is proposing new rules it says will help make internet more affordable and lower phone bills.

Ottawa will require the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to allow smaller internet service providers to access the big telecom companies' networks and says it "must take action to have more timely and improved wholesale rates available."

But it will not overturn a controversial CRTC ruling made last year that reversed the regulatory agency's own 2019 decision to reduce fees big telecoms would be able to charge smaller internet service providers for access to their broadband networks.

The government is also directing the CRTC to improve its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model and says it is prepared to move to a full MVNO model to support competition if necessary.

MVNOs are wireless providers that buy cell phone network service from the big carriers at a wholesale rate and then sell access to customers at a more affordable rate.

Ottawa is also calling on the CRTC to address what it calls unacceptable sales practices and lay out new measures to improve clarity around service pricing and the ability for customers to cancel or change services.

It also wants to see service providers implement mandatory broadband testing so Canadians will understand what they're paying for.

Ottawa's telecom policy proposal lands as concerns increase about Rogers Communications Inc.'s $26 billion acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc.