The ultimate version of a recent telecom policy directive first unveiled by the federal government in May of last yr is now in force.
The federal government’s recent directive to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) means the agency must put in place recent rules to enhance competition within the telecom industry, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Monday.
“Under the Telecommunications Act, the CRTC is accountable for implementing the policy direction and is required to take certain steps and approach all of its future decisions in a way that’s aligned with it,” Champagne said in a press release.
“I trust that the CRTC will act on this necessary work, and I stay up for seeing the direction being put into motion soon.”
The directive rescinds a 2006 policy direction that said the CRTC should depend on market forces in making decisions.
As a substitute, the federal government is now emphasizing consumer rights, affordability, competition and universal access.
The brand new directive would require the CRTC to take motion to have more timely and improved wholesale web rates available. Too-high wholesale rates discourage competition, but rates set too low discourage the corporate’s largest telecom providers from making costly wireless infrastructure upgrades.
The federal government can be directing the CRTC to enhance its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model and says it is ready to maneuver to a full MVNO model to support competition if vital.
MVNOs are wireless providers that buy cellphone network service from the large carriers at a wholesale rate after which sell access to customers at a more cost-effective rate.
Ottawa can be calling on the CRTC to handle what it calls unacceptable sales practices and lay out recent measures to enhance clarity around service pricing and the flexibility for patrons to cancel or change services. It also desires to see service providers implement mandatory broadband testing so Canadians will understand what they’re paying for.
The directive also calls on the CRTC to enhance consumer protection within the event of a service outage. In July of last yr, a serious Rogers Communications network outage affected greater than 12 million mobile and web customers across Canada.
A few of Canada’s independent telecom corporations said last May that the federal government is putting an excessive amount of faith within the country’s regulator to foster competition and ensure web and wireless services are more cost-effective.
But some telecom analysts have said the brand new policy direction appears to signal a shift in favour of web resellers and regional wireless operators within the medium term.
In a client note last May, RBC analyst Drew McReynolds said the end result won’t be “game-changing” for major corporations like BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp., but is more likely to be “directionally negative over time” for these big players.
Ottawa’s telecom policy directive comes into force just days before the Feb. 17 deadline set by Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. for his or her proposed $26-billion merger.
The deal still requires Champagne’s approval, though the Minister has said he isn’t certain by the businesses’ timeline. The deal has already received approval from the Competition Tribunal, a call that was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeals last month.
On Monday, non-profit advocacy organization OpenMedia said that with none indication of what Champagne intends to do concerning the Rogers-Shaw merger, the brand new federal policy directive’s promise to boost competition in Canada’s telecom sector lacks teeth.
“Today the federal government issued long overdue guidance to the CRTC, but Champagne’s guarantees could have little impact without concrete motion to back it up,” said Matt Hatfield, OpenMedia campaigns director, in a release.
“If Champagne greenlights that deal, he’ll be taking back the brand new competition gains after which some.”