Mark Goldberg


www.mhgoldberg.com





The Canadian Telecom Summit

The Canadian Telecom Summit

Fox Group Dispatch

Restoring Trust in Communications

As most of us can attest, phone calls are no longer a trusted way to communicate.

Given the epidemic of nuisance telemarketing (such as my thrice daily calls offering air duct cleaning), and truly illegal calls (like those from the fake Windows support centre), it seems a wasted effort to answer the line most of the times the phone rings.

If we can’t be certain who is calling, consumers will start to ignore the ringer.

This is not just a Canadian problem.

The telecom industries in Canada and the US have been tasked by the CRTC and the FCC, to find ways to combat nuisance calls.

At The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit, delegates will hear about the latest regulatory developments, and industry responses such as the STIR/SHAKEN authentication standards, including implementation progress and best practices to address the problem. The objective is to get people to pick up the phone again.

Michael Cooley, VP Business Development, at Neustar will lead the discussion in the opening session on Day 2, Tuesday, June 5, “Restoring Trust in Communications: Regulations and innovations to protect consumers and optimize business engagement.”

The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit will take place June 4-6 in Toronto. Register before the end of May to save $250. Have you registered yet?

Finding value in the left-overs

There were some surprise results when Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada released the results of the Residual Spectrum auction last week.

Cogeco Connexions paid a little more than $24M to pick up pockets of spectrum in a variety of Ontario and Quebec communities as well as Victoria, BC for a total coverage of about 5.7M people.

Freedom Mobile picked up spectrum in BC and Alberta, covering about 3M people for $8.6M. Xplornet covered 7.5M people for $8.2M, while TELUS picked up spectrum covering New Brunswick and Northern Ontario, reaching 1.6M people for the bargain price of just $900K.

Iristel picked up spectrum in the Yukon for $100K to cover 35,000 people; Ecotel paid $1.2M to reach 1M people in a variety of northern communities.

How will the spectrum be put to use? Will we see enhanced mobile service or more fixed broadband from some of these service providers? In a report issued early this morning, Scotiabank wonders if Cogeco’s spectrum purchase is “a ploy to get Shaw/Freedom or Quebecor/Videotron to negotiate MVNO deals in Ontario and Quebec.” Scotiabank asks if Cogeco might have more leverage with the larger new entrants if there is a threat of an additional company participating in the 600MHz auction, which would increase spectrum prices.

It is interesting to try to understand some of the spectrum purchases. More discussion material for The Canadian Telecom Summit, taking place in less than 2 weeks in Toronto. Have you registered yet?

#CTS18: Come meet with the leaders

Register now for The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit.

The most influential leaders of the Canadian & International ICT industry will gather in Toronto, June 4-6 at The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit, sharing their visions of where we are headed as an industry.

What role will they play in shaping how Canadian information and communications technology and services transform our business and personal lives? The theme for The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit is: “Innovation and Disruption in ICT: reinventing and securing our business and personal lives”.

No other event presents as complete a picture of current and expected trends & developments.

No other event matches The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit for the depth and breadth of topics covered and issues debated.

Come see why The Canadian Telecom Summit has become the only “must-attend” ICT 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 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit.

Join your colleagues for 3 days of spirited discussion and networking.

Register today for The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit.

Download the brochure.

Visit http://www.telecomsummit.com and register today. Save $250 by registering before the end of May.

The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit acknowledges the support of the following organizations:

Minister Bains to deliver closing keynote address at #CTS18

The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit, June 4 – 6, is pleased to announce that The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, will deliver the closing keynote address on June 6.

He joins 60 industry leaders speaking at Canada’s most important gathering of the information and communications technology industry. These senior executives and thought influencers will share their big-picture visions of where we are and where we are headed.

What role will they play in shaping how Canadian information and communications technology and services transform our business and personal lives?

You will have a chance to ask questions, share your thoughts and engage in give-and-take with our speakers and the other attendees. The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit is all about:

  • Networking and Learning;
  • Forming Relationships and Exchanging Views;
  • Challenging and Listening.

All of this and more is what makes The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit the must-attend event of the year.

Service providers, equipment & solutions vendors, application providers, professional services organizations, end-users, financial analysts, government and investors. All will be present at The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit.

And so should you!

Register today for The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit.

Continuing Professional Development: For lawyers, some sessions at The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit can be claimed as “Substantive Hours” toward the Law Society of Ontario’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Should the CRTC be phased out?

According to the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), the CRTC has outlived its usefulness.

“Since Canada has successfully transitioned from monopoly to competition, there is a case to be made that the CRTC should be phased out as Canada’s telecommunications regulator.” That is one of the conclusions of the 5th annual edition of “The State of Competition in Canada’s Telecommunications Industry,” released today by MEI [pdf]. Instead of a sector specific regulator, the report says oversight of the telecommunications industry could move to a more general regulatory framework under competition law.

The report also contends that, despite what it calls “simplistic and misleading” comparisons, Canadian wireless prices are competitive.

“The average bill that Canadians pay for their wireless and internet services keeps increasing not because they have to pay more for the same services, but because they are paying more for more and better services.” The MEI report cites numerous international metrics that Canada has some of the highest quality wireless networks in the world, and comparisons of prices rarely account for service quality.

According to the report, “Wireless carriers in Canada invested on average US$78 per connection between 2010 and 2016, almost twice as much as their European counterparts, which only invested $40.”

Looking at the regulatory framework, the report observes, “The main concrete difference so far between the FCC’s and the CRTC’s approaches to net neutrality has been the steadfast opposition of the Canadian regulator to zero-rating. … In banning innovative and pro-competitive targeted pricing plans, the CRTC has not protected the integrity of the internet; rather, it has raised prices for certain consumers and lowered prices for no one.” This is a familiar refrain to my readers for whom I have made the same observation over the years.

A little over a week ago, I asked on Twitter “What if #CRTC had given market forces a chance to work?”

MEI points out the irony of the CRTC, having an agenda of increasing competition in Canada’s wireless marketplace, ended up banning an innovative pricing plan from a new entrant (Videotron). According to MEI, that ultimately hurts Canadian consumers. Similarly, the report takes aim at the CRTC’s overly prescriptive Wireless Code as having “reduced consumer choice and limited the ability of carriers to develop innovative customer offerings.”

In this instance — as in many others — Canadians would have been better off if the CRTC had relied on market forces instead of attempting to manage the competitive process.

The report points to the December 2017 wireless price war sparked by Freedom Mobile’s $50 per month 10GB plan as evidence of the market’s competitiveness. Quoting the 12-year old report of the Telecom Policy Review Panel (TPRP), MEI says “the Canadian telecommunications industry has evolved to the point where market forces can largely be relied on to achieve economic and social benefits for Canadians, and where detailed, prescriptive regulation is no longer needed in many areas.”

It has been more than 12 years since the TPRP’s report was issued and, as discussed above, the CRTC has shown few signs of restraint in its approach to telecommunications regulation. While it has abandoned its prior focus on retail regulation, it has also expanded mandatory network access schemes, created policies that dull incentives to invest, and rewarded product imitators instead of product innovators. If maintained, these policies are bound to hurt Canadian consumers in the long run.

Although dismantling Canada’s telecommunications regulator might meet with stiff opposition from partisans of continued heavy-handed regulation, it would be of net benefit to Canadian consumers and to Canada’s economy. The CRTC—while a necessary actor in Canada’s telecommunications landscape during the transition from monopoly to competition—has outlived its usefulness.

No doubt, the assertions made in the MEI report will feature prominently in the Regulatory Blockbuster at The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit, taking place June 4 – 6 in Toronto. The Regulatory Blockbuster will feature leading advocates from Bell, TELUS, Rogers, Teksavvy and Ice Wireless.

Have you registered yet?


[Update: May 8, 11:50am] The MEI report author has an opinion piece on the Financial Post website, entitled “The CRTC should celebrate its 50th birthday by giving up telecom regulations entirely” with the caption “Martin Masse: You may be wondering why exactly we still need a dedicated telecommunications regulator. We don’t”.