Yesterday, the CRTC issued Telecom Notice of Consultation 2011-206: Proceeding to review network interconnection matters, which will review the local, wireless, and toll network interconnection regulatory regimes.
The toll interconnection regulatory regime was designed nearly 22 years ago – it was my team that did the original design back in the fall of 1989. We will had to contend with some electromechanical switches and it was long before the first Internet Protocol switches were placed anywhere in the Canadian networks.
As the notice acknowledges:
Currently, there are three distinct regulatory regimes related to the interconnection of telecommunications networks for the purpose of exchanging voice traffic: (i) local network interconnection between local exchange carrier (LEC) networks, (ii) wireless network interconnection between wireless carrier networks and LEC networks, and (iii) toll network interconnection between toll (long distance) networks and LEC networks.
The interconnection arrangements all start with a premise that the primacy exists with the incumbent wireline networks. With wireless substitution and significant migration to alternate local networks including IP, the CRTC is looking to conduct a broad policy review of network interconnection matters. The objective is to determine whether existing interconnection can be simplified and consolidated, which would ultimately enhance competition (to the benefit of consumers), and whether changes are necessary to ensure technological neutrality.
There will be an oral hearing in late October, following interrogatory phases taking place through the summer. The process should wind up with a decision around the time of the 20th anniversary of the landmark long distance competition Decision 92-12. Not sure that any of us involved in that proceeding 20 years ago thought that our interconnection arrangements would still be operating 20 years later!
It is time to go shopping for a new model.