The Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association, Canada's leading cable association, announced today that it plans to shut down after 50 years of operations. The CCTA had been hit by several major defections in recent years (Shaw and Videotron being the most prominent) as the key industry players seemingly agreed on less and less. The CCTA actually switched its name a couple of years ago from Television to Telecommunications to reflect a broader mandate, but with more issues comes more sources of disagreement. Given the power of companies such as Rogers and Shaw, they are clearly content (and quite able) to fend for themselves on law and regulatory matters.
The long-term impact is difficult to gauge. On copyright related matters, I think it is troubling that the major ISPs in Canada do not speak with a strong single voice as the CCTA is gone and the Canadian Association of Internet Providers is not a particularly strong association. The fight over notice and takedown will return and there should be no doubt that the copyright lobby will seize this development to argue for a shift away from Bill C-60's notice and notice approach. Similarly, on issues such as spam and lawful access, ISPs are generally aligned with user interests and the lack of a strong, single voice may hurt. That said, there are other issues – network neutrality come to mind – where a divided industry isn't all bad, since there is the potential for contrary voices that will reject a two-tiered Internet as a competitive advantage.