Post Tagged with: "communications"

tv chair by kolrabi (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/quZw6Q

Government’s Telecom/Broadcast Review Sets Up Internet Taxes and Regulation As a 2019 Election Issue

The government unveiled the members of its telecom and broadcast review panel this morning setting the stage for Internet access taxes, Netflix regulation, and the imposition of cultural policies on telecommunications to emerge as a 2019 election issue. The new panel will be chaired by Janet Yale, who brings experience from both telecommunications and broadcasting to the role. The remaining six panel members line up nicely as telecom nominees (Hank Intven, my colleague Marina Pavlovic, and Monica Song) or broadcast nominees (Peter Grant, Monique Simard, and Pierre Trudel).

The leaked coverage this morning paints the panel as an effort to redraft broadcasting regulation with Internet companies such as Netflix and Facebook firmly in the government sights. Yet the reality is far more complex with terms of reference that touch on a wide range of telecom and broadcast issues. The Canadian Heritage perspective may be focused on broadcast and Internet regulation (despite repeated assurances that there is no support for new Internet taxes), but the ISED view will be focused on competition, consumer issues, and net neutrality. Last week’s CRTC report provides momentum for Internet taxes and regulation, however, the government has yet to provide much of a response. Indeed, the instructions to the panel reflect the departmental tensions with language that supports both sides and questions that touch on everything from consumer protection to the CBC.

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June 5, 2018 6 comments News
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Why Canada’s Communication Policy Misses the Forest for the Trees

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission wrapped up its third major hearing in as many months last week, focusing on the wholesale market for broadband Internet services. Coming on the heels of the earlier hearings on broadcast television regulation (the “TalkTV” hearing that was highlighted by a showdown with Netflix) and wholesale wireless services, the proceedings followed a familiar script.

The incumbent providers urged the Commission to resist regulating access, claiming a competitive market exists with few barriers to new competitors. Meanwhile, independent Internet providers pointed to their relatively small share of the current broadband market and warned that failure to mandate access for faster fibre connections to the home would effectively eliminate future competition as Canadians gravitate to services offering faster speeds.

While it will take some time for the CRTC to issue its decisions in all three cases (the broadcast decision is expected before the end of the year), it is not too early to declare the entire system broken. The CRTC – Netflix battle prompted many to conclude that the Commission was a relic of the past, unable to adapt to the disruptions facilitated by the Internet. Yet the Commission’s difficulty dealing with the fast-moving changes throughout the communications sector is chiefly the result of an outdated regulatory structure that misses the proverbial forest for the trees.

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December 9, 2014 6 comments Columns

Verizon Entry to Canada Could Spark Shift Toward Single North American Communications Market

Reports that U.S. telecom giant Verizon may be preparing to enter the Canadian market has sparked considerable speculation on the likely impact of a company with a market cap greater than Bell, Rogers, and Telus combined. While much of the discussion has centered on wireless pricing, my weekly technology column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues that the more significant development may be the shift toward a single North American communications market.

Canada and the U.S. share much of the same communications infrastructure – the same North American numbering plan (calling codes), closely aligned spectrum policies, and easy access to broadcast signals along the border – yet for decades the two systems have been separated through regulation. Foreign ownership restrictions, Canadian content requirements, and simultaneous substitution policies (which lead to the annual complaints about missing U.S. commercials during the Super Bowl) have all ensured that the two markets remain distinct.

In recent years, new technologies have slowly chipped away at the communications divide.

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July 10, 2013 8 comments Columns

Verizon Entry to Canada Could Spark Shift Toward Single North American Communications Market

Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 7, 2013 as Verizon in Canada Could Spark Shift To Single North American Communications Market Reports that U.S. telecom giant Verizon may be preparing to enter the Canadian market has sparked considerable speculation on the likely impact of a company with a market […]

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July 10, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Will the Government Create a New Minister for Innovation, Science & Technology?

The Hill Times is reporting there is speculation the government is considering splitting the Minister of Industry position into two – one to focus on innovation, science and technology and the other on the rest of the Industry portfolio. The move could be a great one – I discussed the […]

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May 16, 2011 5 comments Must Reads