Canada's three opposition parties say foreign-ownership laws in the country's telecommunications industry are unclear and will seek to debate the issue when Parliament returns this week.
Post Tagged with: "globalive"
The Communications Energy and Paperworkers’ Union, Canada's largest telecom union, says its plans to challenge the Globalive decision in federal court, arguing the "decision is illegal."
Industry Minister Tony Clement announced this morning that the Government has overturned the CRTC decision on Globalive, giving the go-ahead for the fourth national wireless carrier to enter the marketplace. Clement stated "Globalive is a Canadian company, and meets Canadian ownership and control requirements under the Telecommunications Act." While Clement was careful to say that the decision applies solely to these facts, the Order-in-Council seems to suggest that the door is open to greater foreign involvement in the Canadian wireless marketplace.
The key paragraphs focus on the need to interpret the Canadian control requirements with enhanced competition in mind and on the absence of foreign investment restrictions under the law:
Telus executive Michael Hennessey blogs on the many questions involving Globalive and a cabinet review.
Corporate structures and loan agreements are rarely the stuff of public interest, yet, as my weekly technology column notes (Toronto Star version, homepage version) last month they attracted considerable attention in a case involving Globalive, a new wireless company vying to shake up Canada’s telecommunications industry. Operating as Wind Mobile, the company paid hundreds of millions of dollars in 2008 to scoop up spectrum to enable it to operate as a new national wireless carrier.
Bell Canada, Telus Corp., and Rogers Communications, the big three incumbent carriers, unsurprisingly opposed the new rival. First they lobbied against a set-aside of spectrum for new entrants. When that failed, they argued Globalive failed to comply with the Telecommunications Act's foreign control restrictions. Last month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission agreed. While Industry Canada previously concluded the company met the Canadian control requirements for the purposes of the Radiocommunications Act when it bid for spectrum, the CRTC concluded that its ownership and control structure do not meet the legal requirements to operate as a wireless carrier.
The commission identified a number of changes that will be needed to comply with the law and Globalive says it is evaluating its options. The first option is presumably for the federal cabinet to overrule the CRTC. Last week, Industry Minister Tony Clement gave Canada's telecom players until Wednesday to provide their views on the issue as he conducts a pre-cabinet review. A decision may be weeks away, but the process puts a much bigger question into play: Will the Globalive case become the catalyst for the elimination of telecom foreign control restrictions?