Archive for June, 2013

Verizon on the Horizon: Could the U.S. Giant Shake Up More than Just Canadian Wireless?

Reports in the Globe yesterday that U.S. telecom giant Verizon has offered $700 million for Wind Mobile as part of an entry into the Canadian wireless market (which could also include buying Mobilicity and bidding in the upcoming spectrum auction) caused significant reverberations throughout the industry. The news sent the stock price of the Canadian incumbents plummeting and analysts – who only days ago were assuring clients such a move would not happen (“highly unlikely” said Scotiabank’s Jeff Fan; “what a joke” a telecom executive told Cartt.ca) – scurrying to assess the potential impact of a Verizon entry. Some have argued Verizon would have little interest in a smaller market like Canada, yet the company has actively promoted the elimination of foreign investment restrictions including in a 2008 submission to the Competition Policy Review Panel that detailed how “it had a long-standing presence in the Canadian telecommunications market”. 

There remain many questions about a Verizon entry into the market via Wind Mobile, particularly with respect to the use of different wireless technologies and spectrum, but there is little doubt that the company could use its buying power to offer better deals on devices and North America-wide plans that leverage its U.S. network to offer significantly better roaming services. Moreover, the U.S. footprint could appeal to the corporate sector, offering the chance to steal customers from the current incumbents. 

Less discussed would be the potential impact on broadcast rights and distribution.

Read more ›

June 27, 2013 13 comments News

“The Miracle in Marrakesh”: Agreement Reached on a Treaty for the Visually Impaired

After years of discussions and repeated efforts to thwart or water down a treaty for the visually impaired, delegates in Morocco reached agreement late Tuesday on a treaty. A draft of the text is available here.

Read more ›

June 27, 2013 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Reddit AMA Asked Me Anything

I participated in a Reddit AMA together with SurfEasy on Tuesday.  The discussion led to questions on a wide range of issues, including copyright, privacy, surveillance, and the TPP.

Read more ›

June 27, 2013 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Is the Government About to Can Its Own Anti-Spam Law?

In May 2010, then-Industry Minister Tony Clement introduced anti-spam legislation that he admitted was long overdue. Clement acknowledged that “Canada is seen as a haven for spammers because of the gaps in our current legislation…a place where spammers can reside and inflict their damage around the world.” Despite heavy lobbying against the legislation by groups concerned with new rules on electronic marketing, the government pushed ahead, with the bill receiving all-party support and royal assent by the end of that year.

As my weekly technology law column notes (Toronto Star version, homepage version), two-and-a-half years later, the anti-spam law has still not taken effect, awaiting long-delayed final regulations that have been the target of an intensive campaign to water-down or repeal the legislation before it ever takes effect.

Last week, government officials disclosed that the best-case scenario for the law is that final regulations are released late this summer with the implementation of the law delayed until the fall of 2014.  Moreover, many provisions may not become operational until at least 2017, eight years after the first anti-spam law bill was tabled in the House of Commons.

Read more ›

June 25, 2013 9 comments News

Is the Government About to Can Its Own Anti-Spam Law?

Appeared in the Toronto Star on June 22, 2013 as Anti-Spam Law Could be Canned by Government In May 2010, then-Industry Minister Tony Clement introduced anti-spam legislation that he admitted was long overdue. Clement acknowledged that “Canada is seen as a haven for spammers because of the gaps in our […]

Read more ›

June 24, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive