Mark Goldberg


www.mhgoldberg.com





The Canadian Telecom Summit
Fox Group Dispatch
Digitcom

Did Privacy Commissioner lose private information?

A story in the print edition of today’s Toronto Star by Graham Lanktree says that a data breach at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada may have exposed the private information of 800 current and former federal employees.

The story says that the agency lost an unencrypted hard drive during an office relocation in mid-February. The Star report says the drive had private earnings information including names, official ID numbers, salary and overtime, for current and former employees of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Although the drive was lost in mid-February, the information technology department did not notice the drive was missing until mid-March. The Toronto Star article says that it took until April 9 for the IT people to realize that missing drive had personal information. Still, 180 current employees were told about the breach last week; another 600 former employees had still not been informed.

Under proposed legislation recently introduced in the Senate [Bill S-4: The Digital Privacy Act], notification must be given “as soon as feasible after the organization determines that the breach has occurred.” Will the timeline for notification by the Privacy Commissioner help inform a definition of “as soon as feasible”?

Who polices a breach of data privacy by the office charged with policing such matters? At the bottom of the Star story, we are told that the RCMP has not been called in to investigate since there is no indication of a criminal act. An internal investigation is said to be expected to return findings on Friday. According to the story, Parliament was notified through the Ethics Committee and the speakers of the House and Senate.

Privacy, security, telemarketing rules, anti-spam, and so much more will all be discussed at The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit, June 16-18 in Toronto. Have you registered yet?

Challenge the leaders

Conference BrochureThe most influential leaders of the Canadian & International ICT industry will gather in Toronto from June 16-18 at The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit. Alone, any of our keynote speakers would be well worth listening to. The Canadian Telecom Summit brings over a dozen keynote address – and more than 50 panelists – over 3 unmatched days of presentations, discussions, sharing ideas, forming relationships and even deal-making.

Now in its 13th year, The Canadian Telecom Summit has grown to become Canada’s most important annual telecommunications & IT event, attracting hundreds of attendees from around the world. No other event presents a complete picture of current and expected trends & developments. No other event matches The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit for the depth and breadth of topics covered and issues debated.

This year, in addition to its ever popular Regulatory Blockbuster, we are featuring sessions devoted to:

  • The Continuing Evolution of TV;
  • Cloud, Big Data and the Transformative Power of the Network;
  • Cyber Defense;
  • Competition in Telecom;
  • Customer Experience Management;
  • Converged Business Models;
  • The Digitization of Canada’s Economy: a report card on progress, a prescription for the future;
  • Rage of the Machine: The growth of NFC, M2M, Mobile Commerce & More; and
  • CIO/CTO Roundtable.

Come see why The Canadian Telecom Summit has become the only must-attend conference. With more opportunities than ever to learn, network and do business, if you are involved with or impacted by Canadian telecommunications, broadcasting or information technology, you need to be at The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit.

Join your colleagues for 3 days of spirited discussion and networking. Register today for The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit.

Visit http://www.telecomsummit.com to register today. View the complete conference brochure.

You should be getting an email from The Canadian Telecom Summit later today. If you don’t get an email, check your spam folder or sign-up for the mailing list.

Is wireless penetration stuck?

ScotiaCapital 20140421Scotia Capital has released some new reports on the Canadian wireless market, one in direct response to news late last week about a new offer by TELUS to acquire Mobilicity.

The other report, Scotia’s Converging Networks report for the week of March 31, observes “At this pace, we are trending toward no subscriber growth and no penetration growth in 2014.”

The Scotia Capital report sees revenue growth also slowing. Price increases have had a slowing effect on service revenue growth and data revenue growth, caused primarily by slower growth in smartphone subscribers (and smartphone penetration growth), which fuel data revenue growth. “As smartphone subscriber and smartphone penetration growth slow, so does data revenue growth.”

In the report on the TELUS – Mobilicity transaction, Scotia Capital states:

  • TELUS tried to acquire Mobilicity in mid-2013 and unofficially again later in 2013 but was rejected both times by Industry Canada (IC). Mobilicity has been under CCAA since Sept 2013 and received 5 official bids. Mobilicity stated TELUS is the only one acceptable. In the Mobilicity release, there were a number of concessions if the transaction is approved.
  • We believe that this deal is “dead on arrival” for the regulators but at this point, there is no real downside to TELUS’ move. Plan A is to have the bankruptcy court overrule IC’s rejection. If the court sides with IC, then we think that plan B would be for Mobilicity to pursue the next bid (or wait for another lower offer to emerge). The lower offer would help Mobilicity crystallize the “damage” for potential legal action against IC in the future.
  • We do not believe IC will budge on allowing the transfer of set-aside spectrum licenses to the incumbents. Prices are again on the rise and we are not sure what victory the government can really declare. We believe IC is determined to devalue Wind and Mobilicity to the point that it becomes attractive for consolidation. It is not even clear that IC will even let SJR or QBR sell their spectrum licenses to RCI under their option agreements.

It is a powerful set of observations on the level of intervention by Industry Canada in the wireless marketplace. In one bullet, Scotia Capital observes that there could be lawsuits against the government for changing the spectrum transfer rules (potentially with 9 figure damages), and in another bullet, Scotia suggests the government is intentionally devaluing two of the new entrants.

Is this consistent with the spectrum transfer rules that were the subject of a blog post last week? Those rules require that “market forces should be relied upon to the maximum extent feasible” and “regulatory measures, where required, should be minimally intrusive, efficient and effective.”

The people who will lead the development of Canada’s digital future are gathering in Toronto from June 16-18 at The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit. Now in its 13th year, this year’s event will explore a theme of “Future-proofing Our Place in a Digital World”, examining the technologies, services, systems, regulations and policies that are at the foundation of a global digital economy.

The state of telecom competitiveness in Canada will be the subject of a panel on Monday June 16, featuring some of North American’s leading telecom economists. The convergence of content anywhere is the subject of a panel that will be moderated by Scotia Capital’s Jeff Fan, also on June 16. Be sure to book your place at The Canadian Telecom Summit, June 16-18, in Toronto.

Canada’s ICT leadership

Guy LaurenceJanet KennedyWe’re excited to announce that 2 very high profile, senior ICT executives have joined the roster of The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit.

Guy Laurence, the new CEO of Rogers Communications, and Janet Kennedy, new President of Microsoft Canada will both deliver keynote addresses at The Canadian Telecom Summit on June 16.

This is certainly the first time that these 2 personalities have been on the same program and we are really excited to be able to bring them to you.

The most influential leaders of the Canadian & International ICT industry will gather in Toronto from June 16-18 at The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit. Alone, any of our keynote speakers would be well worth listening to. The Canadian Telecom Summit brings over a dozen keynote address – and more than 50 panelists – over 3 unmatched days of presentations, discussions, sharing ideas, forming relationships and even deal-making.

Don’t forget to register to secure your place. It is the only event you need to attend this year.

Be sure to watch for more blockbuster announcements over the coming days!

Looking at spectrum more strategically

The UK is somewhat ahead of Canada in its government thinking on digital strategy matters.

In 2009, the British government released a 245 page report entitled Digital Britain [pdf]. I wrote about the report a few times in early 2009, including a post that observed:

It seems that there are lots of studies, but it is hard to find a clear statement of vision for Canada’s digital future. As we invest in measures to jump start job creation, what concrete measures will affirm Canadian leadership in a global digital economy.

Five years later, just 2 weeks ago, Canada released Digital Canada 150, subtitled “A Plan for Canada’s Digital Future”.

I encourage you to examine the two documents side-by-side and compare.

In the meantime, Britain has continued to develop its strategic thinking on digital issues.

A colleague has pointed out a 50-page report [pdf] released a few weeks ago, outlining the UK’s Spectrum Strategy, “Delivering the best value from spectrum for the UK“. The Ministerial forward to this report starts with a statement that Spectrum is “hugely valuable,” worth over £50bn a year to the UK economy.

Our vision is for use of spectrum to double its annual contribution to the economy by 2025 through offering business the access it needs to innovate and grow, and everyone in the UK the services they need to live their lives to the full. That is why we need UK Spectrum Strategy now, to set the framework to help us make the right choices in the years to 2025 and beyond.

The report presents a level of transparency and depth of thought that is refreshing to read. How does Canada compare?

Canada has had a spectrum policy in place since 2007. The Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada was approved in 2007 by then Industry Minister Maxime Bernier and released at The Canadian Telecom Summit. The Enabling Guidelines section is an interesting read in view of how spectrum is being managed:

  1. Market forces should be relied upon to the maximum extent feasible.
  2. Notwithstanding (a), spectrum should be made available for a range of services that are in the public interest.
  3. Spectrum should be made available to support Canadian sovereignty, security and public safety needs.
  4. Regulatory measures, where required, should be minimally intrusive, efficient and effective.
  5. Regulation should be open, transparent and reasoned, and developed through public consultation, where appropriate.
  6. Spectrum management practices, including licensing methods, should minimize administrative burden and be responsive to changing technology and market place demands.
  7. Canada’s spectrum resource interests should be actively advanced and defended internationally.
  8. Spectrum policy and management should support the efficient functioning of markets by:
    • permitting the flexible use of spectrum to the extent possible;
    • harmonizing spectrum use with international allocations and standards, except where Canadian interests warrant a different determination;
    • making spectrum available for use in a timely fashion;
    • facilitating secondary markets for spectrum authorizations;
    • clearly defining the obligations and privileges conveyed in spectrum authorizations;
    • ensuring that appropriate interference protection measures are in place;
    • reallocating spectrum where appropriate, while taking into account the impact on existing services; and
    • applying enforcement that is timely, effective and commensurate with the risks posed by non-compliance.

It isn’t clear that we are closely following the Framework or its enabling guidelines.

Transparency (item “e”) is an important element of our stated spectrum policy, but we can do better. The government is overdue in publishing the public inputs in its recent Antenna Tower Siting Procedures consultation that closed March 31. In addition, we are still waiting for disclosure of round-by-round bidding for the 700 MHz auction, promised in the 700 MHz Licensing Framework. Two months after the auction concluded, the promised details have not been published.

How consistently has the government applied its spectrum policy?

There are recent news stories of companies looking for Industry Canada to follow US spectrum allocations at a faster pace. How are Canadians being served by our current policies?

The people who will lead the development of Canada’s digital future are gathering in Toronto from June 16-18 at The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit. Now in its 13th year, this year’s event will explore a theme of “Future-proofing Our Place in a Digital World”, examining the technologies, services, systems, regulations and policies that are at the foundation of a global digital economy.

It is the only conference you need to attend, and it all gets started just 2 months from today. Have you registered yet?