Mark Goldberg


www.mhgoldberg.com





Fox Group Dispatch

Reviewing on its own motion

A recent commentary in Cartt.ca by former CRTC Vice-chair Peter Menzies observed that “A more open CRTC is a great leap forward.” The article comments on “the significance of a recent tweak by the CRTC regarding how it runs its hearings” signalled by a simple tweet from the official CRTC account:

It was a small, but notable change in procedure that may be signalling a cultural shift within the regulatory institution.

Last Friday, FCC Chair Ajit Pai tweeted a notable shift south of the border:

I wonder how many regulations Canada still has on the books for services that no longer exist? How many regulations are on the books from a different era before new media and over the top services became serious competitors and have led to significant substitutes for consumers? Indeed, how many regulations have been enacted in recent years for services that face far more competition than ever before?

Whether it is TV distribution or telecom services, despite the availability of unregulated and unlicensed competitive alternatives, one can point to an increased number of regulations that limit the flexibility for legacy service providers to be creative in responding. Many of these regulations have led to increased prices with questionable benefits to consumers. What consumer benefits are being restricted by these limits on the degrees of freedom for marketing departments in Canada’s regulated service providers?

Typically, to change a ruling, the regulatory review process is triggered by an application from a service provider. Canada’s Telecom Act allows for the CRTC to review on its own motion virtually “anything prohibited, required or permitted to be done”.

What was the significance of that “tweak by the CRTC regarding how it runs its hearings”?

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