Mark Goldberg

Digital leadership

It’s election time in Canada. I have a wish for the political parties: tell us clearly your vision to lead Canada in the 21st century digital world.

It seems to me that we need to stop the dithering around developing Digital Economy Strategies and actually put a stake in the ground.

Last week, Network World asked me to comment on what we should be looking for in the upcoming election campaign. I pointed out that we have studied communications issues enough, with the 2006 Telecom Policy Review Panel, the 2008 Competition Policy Review, together with last year’s consultation on foreign direct investment and the digital economy consultation, combined with the consultations and hearing for the recent Anti-Spam bill and the soon-to-die Copyright Bill, and finally the recent parliamentary Industry committee review of wholesale high speed Internet access.

Given all of that analysis over the past few years, it is hard to understand why we couldn’t have clear platform statements from each of the parties setting out their positions on foreign telecommunications investment, telecom and broadcast regulatory reform, copyright reform, incentives for investment in telecommunications facilities and development of digital media.

A comprehensive digital vision would include how we get connectivity to Canada’s lowest income earners, starting with ensuring all school aged children have access to computers with internet at home; how we will develop digital literacy in under-represented segments; and increased measurements, reporting and tracking to objectives.

I will be disappointed if all we hear about are current hot topics. That should be a signal that the candidates and parties lack vision and will be reactive, not proactive in their policy development.

Canadians have been waiting too long for digital policy leadership.


3 comments to Digital leadership

  • Bill Hillier

    Here is the way it ought to be:
    1, All Telecoms set up as divisions: Wholesale, Retail.
    2. Wholesale maintains the infrastructure. Retail sell the products.
    3. CTRC sets fair Wholesale access rates, Retail like any business sets prices per “Market Forces”.
    4. Wholesale sells openly to ALL retail providers, even their own Retail divisions, at the same regulated rate.
    …”Market Forces” determine retail rates.
    Works in the UK and works really well.
    Openreach is the UK Telecom wholesaler.
    Ofcom is the UK regulator


    The political parties are worried about media giving them bad coverage of the election so they are afraid of offending big incumbents and are as enslaved to them as the rest of the consumers and Voters. Digital Economy Strategies are regulated unfortunately by the big players.

    – Internet was created to offer access to free information. WE gladly pay for access but Freedom of information is a guaranteed right and not metered.

    Crts’s Biggest Problem is they offer big telecom License rights to ‘provide access’ to their own content.
    That Content of course has to comply with the Canadian standards but besides that the Providers have a right to charge an access fee and their own quality of content fees. Simply put, Ubb is not applied to their own content since we pay for the access to it.

    What I believe is illegal with Ubb is that they charge for internet content which they have no license rights for. They are paid to provide access. Netflix, YouTube, and Free-over-the-air TV stations create content they own at whichever economic strategy that generate their own income price. Access providers break licensing rights by creating a surcharge on outside content since it’s either competes directly with access provider’s own content or create more DIGITAL MEDIA quality market choice. And thats a monopoly.

    –Broadband plan is access. Access should be based on quality of technology. And it should be charged on a fairly business sense. Plans should be structured on speed minimums since we pay for time saved. Retail sector would be forced to upgrade technology to offer better speeds and get better income. If they sell too many plans and it lowers speed output they will have to upgrade and charge less. Its called business growth.

    The indie ISPs – Lets face it, Election year. Big corporations have/had big tax breaks. Offer NEW technology Tax breaks to smaller indie ISPs/mobile for expansion and development into Canadian market. Offer spectrum licences on a two year free contract so they have more money for development and expansion, which by the way will create a better economy anyway and quicken the market competition. If they make it they keep using it. Last mile access rights should expire after a time period and become ‘PUBLIC FUND” which the government would simply collect and reinvest in innovation, expansion and digital age.

    – Mobile Market troubles. One Advise, Let Google-voice in. Make them offer Canadian 50% Public shares. I’m sure no one will pay more than 40 bucks for mobile plans in six months.

    Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission – radio? TV? Telecomminication? This is a commission of pre-digital access technologies. There is no part of NET in the name so why would we assume they would know what they are doing? Canadian Internet Radio-television Telecommunications Commission should have its own department of intelligent UP-TO-DATE TECHNOLOGY specialist that know exactly what 1 gig download speed is and when it will be in Canada. And They will know How to enforce net neutrality. Its like living in 1950’s and asking a person to follow our tweets. (Oh yea that’s happened at a crtc hearing)