Thursday, March 23, 2006

Canadian Telecom Policy Review Report

A federal panel that examined Canadian telecommunications policy released its official report Wednesday. The 3-member panel was announced in the spring of 2005 and its mandate was to make recommendations to "ensure that Canada has a strong, internationally competitive telecommunications industry, which delivers world-class affordable services and products for the economic and social benefit of all Canadians in all regions of Canada".

Its main thrust is a call for large-scale deregulation of the telecom market. It also proposes a comprehensive federal program to deploy broadband service in all remaining unserved areas of the country, a new Telecommunications Consumer Agency to handle consumer complaints, and a transitional joint CRTC and Competition Bureau "Telecommunications Competition Tribunal".

  • CIPPIC (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic): "We are especially pleased with the recommendation for a statutory right to access publicly available content on the Internet, given the potential for ISPs to limit user access to certain sites for self-interested purposes... However, this recommendation does not go far enough toward ensuring network neutrality, since ISPs could still offer different levels of Internet access depending on ability and willingness to pay. We need additional rules prohibiting 'access-tiering'."
  • Telecom Policy Review Panel Calls For Net Neutrality Legal Safeguards (Michael Geist, University of Ottawa): "... the panel is clearly calling for legislated assurances that ISPs will not veer significantly from net neutrality principles.The other two recommendations of note are the retention of privacy within the Telecommunications Act (including the view that the Privacy Commissioner and the CRTC have complementary roles on privacy) and the call for a new national broadband strategy that would target universal broadband access in Canada by 2010."
  • Telecom policy review opens door to deregulation ( "...if the recommendations are rolled into policy, there will be more deregulation across telecom and cable, which is good news for the incumbents, BCE and Telus."
  • Ottawa urged to ease the way to deregulation in telecoms sector (CBC News reprint of a Canadian Press story): "Its long list of recommendations, a year in the making, is built on the idea Ottawa must dramatically deregulate the telecommunications sector... Proponents have argued such a change would mean lower prices for consumers, but critics warn it could also make it impossible for upstarts to enter the market, eventually eliminating competition."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:47 pm


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