Government of Canada announces final policy direction to the CRTC to improve competition in the telecom sector

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Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) The policy direction to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has been finalized (CRTC, proposed last summer To increase competition in the telecom sector.

Today’s announcement legally obliges the CRTC to turn the final policy direction into detailed rules under the Telecommunications Act.

The new policy direction also cancels 2006 Policy Direction That included language that the CRTC should rely on market forces when enforcing the Telecommunications Act. instead it builds on 2019 direction on competition, affordability, consumer rights and innovation.

“Access to affordable and reliable Internet and wireless services is critical in today’s society and economy. This is why our Government is using every tool at our disposal to ensure that telecommunications services are competitive, reliable and above all, affordable,” said Honorable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Industry.

“Generally, smaller telecom service providers supported the proposed direction, but the government wanted it to be made more prescriptive. Some reforms have been made to make it more clear,” Director General of Telecom and Internet Policy at ISED Andre Arbor said. “Many large telecom service providers strongly opposed this directive. The government disagrees with those views, and it is moving forward with measures to advance competition and consumer interests.”

The new policy direction to the CRTC aims to:

  1. Increase wholesale internet access and competition for more affordable internet,

– Require large companies to provide access to competitors at regulated rates so they can offer lower prices and more choice to Canadians. CRTC should take action to improve the availability of more timely and better wholesale rates

– The current model of service, called the holistic model of service, that smaller companies depended on to be phased out by CRTC. Disha tells that this model should remain the same.

– Big companies need to provide the momentum Canadians are demanding to competitors.

CRTCs should ensure that wholesale internet access, including fibre-to-the-home networks, is available equitably across the market.

2. Increase mobile wireless competition for more affordable cell phone plans by

Directing the CRTC to reform its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model (in which a wireless communication service provider does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers). The government will also adopt a full-fledged MVNO model, if necessary, to support competition in the telecom sector.

3. By improving consumer rights;

New measures are needed to address unacceptable sales practices and improve transparency in terms of service and pricing, and to make it easier and more affordable for consumers to change or cancel services

Service providers are required to implement mandatory broadband testing to ensure Canadians know they are getting the service they are paying for. CRTC currently has only a voluntary broadband testing program samanoz, which involves the installation of specialized equipment in a representative sample of homes to monitor and test the speed and performance of connections in a particular location. Arbor said today’s provision is intended to strengthen that process so that it is mandatory and that major providers participate, especially in rural areas. “But in the end, it will be up to them [CRTC] To set specific rules for who it applies to and how the test is to be conducted.

– Improving access to telecommunications services for Canadians with disabilities

– Improve consumer protection in the event of a service outage

Strengthening the Complaints Commission for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS), including giving a more prominent voice to consumers and non-industry representatives

– To raise public awareness on CCTS and its capabilities to resolve consumer disputes

4. Accelerate service deployment and universal access

Improve access to telephone poles and similar infrastructure so that service providers can more rapidly deploy new services

– Adjust its broadband fund to meet connectivity needs across Canada. Champagne said the government is releasing C$3.225 billion in Universal Broadband Fund to support connectivity in disadvantaged rural and remote communities.

5. Create Better Rules

– Instructing the CRTC to use available resources to take sound decisions while being more proactive in strategic planning and market monitoring

CRTC regulations must be efficient and proportionate to their purpose, balancing economic needs with competition and investment considerations

– Improve decision timeliness

“Under the Telecommunications Act, the CRTC is responsible for implementing the policy direction and is required to take certain steps and adopt all future decisions in a uniform manner,” Champagne said. “I am confident the CRTC will act on this important task, and I look forward to seeing direction in action soon.”

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