Policy review panel recommends easing regulation, CRTC reform

The panel released its report shortly after the election of the Conservative government. At press time, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier had not responded to the report, other than issuing a statement promising to “carefully review” it.

The report recommends scrapping the law requiring the regulation of all telecommunications services that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has specifically forborne from regulation.

It also recommends all service providers be regulated equally, based on their “economic power,” rather than the technology they use. It recommends the government require carriers to make “essential” facilities available to competitors.

It also recommends the establishment of a Telecommunications Competition Tribunal, which would be a “joint decision-making mechanism involving the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.” The TCT’s mandate would include ruling on complaints alleging basic retail services are “subject to significant economic power” and therefore should be regulated.

The panel also recommended the CRTC take over regulation of international submarine cables and satellite orbital slots, and to give the CRTC and TCT the power to impose fines.

The panelists were Gerri Sinclair, Hank Intven and Andre Tremblay.

More information is available at www.telecomreview.ca.

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