Should the CRTC Get Out of Telecom?

Schooley Mitchell complaintsFederal Conservative Party leadership candidate Maxime Bernier thinks the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) should be cut out of the telecom business. He said the agency has a “control freak mindset” which impedes investment and sustainable competition. Bernier is known as a long-time advocate for telecom deregulation.

“It’s not the role of the CRTC or the government to decide how this increasingly complex market should evolve,” Bernier was quoted as saying. “It’s up to the producers and consumers.”

How would deregulation even begin? Bernier believes the federal Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development could take over the CRTC’s more necessary telecom functions, such as 911 and the do-not-call list. He suggested reversing policies that allow preferential set-asides of airwave spectrum. He would also scrap last year’s decision to force major telecom providers to sell space on their high-speed networks to smaller rivals.

“Forcing some providers to share their networks will not do anything to increase investments, and ultimately won’t do anything to sustainably bring better and less expensive services to consumers,” said Bernier.

However, the decision in question was hailed by advocacy groups such as, who called it the “first step towards ensuring small independent ISPs are able to sell fibre internet in Canada, which should expand access and affordability to users.”

While Bernier may not be completely right, he is not completely wrong either. Canada has some of the most expensive service prices, and companies like Bell and Rogers have a large monopoly on the telecom market. So does the CRTC need to be phased out or just reformed?

*Source: The Toronto Star