Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom

Telus on the Spectrum Auction

Telus responds to my column this week on the forthcoming wireless spectrum auction with a letter to the editor in today's Ottawa Citizen.  The company says that it takes exception to my advocacy for a set-aside for new entrants, stating that "we strongly believe that the competitive playing field should […]

Read more ›

June 22, 2007 2 comments News

Spectrum Auction Puts Wireless Competition on the Line

My weekly column (Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) looks at the current debate over the spectrum auction set for 2008. The first round of the consultation comments closed last month, generating nearly 50 industry submissions, yet surprisingly only four Canadians provided their views (follow up responses can be made until June 27th).  By comparison, in the United States more than 250,000 people have written to the Federal Communications Commission to urge it to set conditions on a forthcoming spectrum auction that would make Internet access more open, affordable, and accessible.

Despite the lack of Canadian public awareness, the issue has an enormous impact on telecommunications since it plays a pivotal role in determining wireless competition.  The three incumbent wireless providers (Bell, Telus, and Rogers) along with some business groups stand on one side, calling for an "open auction" that would involve minimal pre-conditions and see the available spectrum auctioned off to the highest bidders.  These groups argue that the Canadian wireless market is already competitive and that the government should avoid setting aside spectrum for new providers.

Major cable companies (Shaw, Quebecor, Cogeco) and smaller telecom companies (MTS Allstream, Toronto Hydro Telecom) provide the alternate perspective.  They are seeking a "set-aside" that would reserve spectrum for new entrants.  These companies point to data that places Canada well below other developed countries on metrics such as the number of wireless subscribers, pricing, and the introduction of innovative services.  They also note that Canadian spectrum auctions are not truly open, since foreign ownership restrictions exclude many potential bidders.

While the incumbents have been quick to characterize a spectrum set-aside as akin to a government subsidy, they fail to acknowledge that they were handed reserved spectrum to get off the ground.

Read more ›

June 19, 2007 4 comments Columns

Spectrum Auction Puts Wireless Competition on the Line

Appeared in the Toronto Star on June 18, 2007 as Spectrum Auction Has Plenty on the Line Appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on June 19, 2007 as Federal Spectrum Auction Puts Wireless Competition on the Line Last week, the titans of the telecommunications industry, including Ted Rogers and BCE's Michael […]

Read more ›

June 18, 2007 1 comment Columns Archive

Australia Announces National Broadband Plan

99 percent of the population covered at 12 megabits per second.  Within two years.

Read more ›

June 18, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

CRTC Chair Von Finckenstein on Broadcast and Telecom

CRTC Chair Konrad Von Finckenstein has had a busy week with major speeches on broadcast and telecom.

Read more ›

June 14, 2007 3 comments Must Reads