inbox

A Bad Day for the CRTC

It was not a good day for Canada's telecom regulator, the CRTC, yesterday. It's much-awaited decision on how Canada's $10-billion local telephone market will be deregulated was hit with a hailstorm of criticism from incumbent carriers who are shocked the CRTC failed to properly analyze the shifting competitive landscape as cablecos build market share while Web-based service providers such as Vonage, Primus, AOL and Skype establish footholds. Instead, the CRTC said incumbent carriers have to lose 25% market share before they can apply to have a specific market deregulated- a process that could take as long as two years. So instead of getting the new, streamlined regulatory framework, the incumbent carriers find themselves with another complex, bureaucratic system that, if anything, will put more pressure for the CRTC to be reformed.
  To make matters worse, the CRTC's media call yesterday was embarassing. Rather than use the widely accepted conference call system whereby participants call in and have their questions moderated by an operator, the CRTC decided to use an antique system that had probably been collecting dust somewhere. This saw the operator call each reporter around the country. And rather than having questions queued up, anyone could ask a question any time – not a good thing with reporters on deadline with different agendas. To make matters worse, the sound quality was so bad you felt like the call was being done in a submarine. Then, the theme song from 2001: A Space Odessey could be heard in the background. When that disappeared, it was replaced by beeping of a call-waiting system.

This entry was posted in ILEC News, Analysis, Main Page, Telecom Regulation. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Anonymous

    What's the saying, “Those who can't, regulate.”

  • Aaron Ford

    Mark I was hoping for more of a comment on how this decision will allow smaller companies to continue operating without being completely priced out of the market, due to temporary below-cost pricing.
    Sure the big guys are upset, they want little or no competition, like in BC where Telus continues to enjoy residential market share likely above 90%.
    Contrary to the virtual monopolies i.e. Telus, I view this as a good decision for smaller companies and consumers who want choice.

  • Aaron Ford

    Mark I was hoping for more of a comment on how this decision will allow smaller companies to continue operating without being completely priced out of the market, due to temporary below-cost pricing.
    Sure the big guys are upset, they want little or no competition, like in BC where Telus continues to enjoy residential market share likely still above 90%.
    Contrary to the companies monopolies i.e. Telus, I view this as a good decision for smaller companies and consumers who want choice.

  • François

    Mark,
    If this decision was bad, it should be easy to find a citation from a consumer groups arguing the failure of the CRTC to properly balance all conflicting interests.
    Read PIAC's press release: http://www.piac.ca/telecom/piac_media_release_crtc_local_forbearance_decision/
    Less favourable to consumers was the Commission test for competition which seems to allow deregulation when a duopoly exists and a refusal to continue service quality standards in all markets. “This decision considers the very real problems faced by most consumers who may not be able to get the kind of discounts for high end packages which some consumers will be able to negotiate,” said John Lawford, legal counsel for PIAC.
    So infact, the Criticism that the CRTC is getting is not from the consumers, and not from the public in general, but really only from the ILECs.
    Your article is sensentionalism, not journalism.
    francois@menards.ca

  • Anonymous

    Its a bad decision because Canada is slipping behind other countries in terms of connectivity and access to technology. I'm not sure how this decision helps as controlling free market forces in such a complicated industry such as telecom can have dire consequences.
    Look around at the other countries we are globally compared with and our regulatory framework is wrong. I do not want to become a 'technology leper'.
    2 years waiting time coupled with the CRTC's track history of long delays in decisions does not make me feel overly comfortable that we are going in the right direction.
    I guess only time will tell.