Mark Goldberg

Competition counterpoints

Over the past few weeks, there have been a series of opinion pieces in the Financial Post triggered by the CRTC’s decision to mandate wholesale access to “incumbent” ISP’s investment in fibre to the home.

I thought it might be worthwhile to provide links to the exchange of points and counterpoints.

It got started with Terence Corcoran writing “Canada’s competing competition anachronisms“, which concluded:

The big unknown in the CRTC’s decisions, as with those of the Competition Bureau, is how much their essentially arbitrary activities impose in costs on the economy. They keep making regulations, changing the industrial structure of the country, without ever having to justify their existence beyond frequent and repetitive streams of economic jargon on the merits of a limited definition of competition.

George Burger of VMedia responded with an OpEd entitled “Counterpoint: Regulate the Internet as a utility“, concluding with:

When the public has choice and is offered fairly priced goods and services, as is the case with the bookselling industry, no regulation is needed. Where there is no choice, and the public is victimized, existing levels of regulation may not be enough.

Andy Baziliauskas and Frank Mathewson of Charles River Associates and University of Toronto respectively responded with a piece called “Don’t over-regulate the Internet

As consumers, we naturally want the lowest prices possible for Internet services, but we also want quality and innovation. We also want our providers to make sure that their networks can handle our ever increasing demand for bandwidth. If [the internet is regulated as a utility], we may see lower prices in the short term, but in the longer term there will be less investment in network infrastructure, which will mean less innovation by incumbents and much poorer Internet delivery for Canadian consumers.

On Twitter earlier today, George Burger promised a response. I will post a link when it is available.

[Update: 12:30 pm] VMedia posted a response to the Charles River piece, “Incumbent Consultants Target VMedia, Fire Blanks.”

In view of the direct attack on VMedia, we felt compelled to respond and set the record straight. We submitted our response to the Post, but it declined to publish it. We respect the Post’s editorial judgment, but we do feel a public response to the Charles Rivers piece is required.

I encourage my readers to read the collection of opinion pieces. As always, your comments are welcomed.

Comments are closed.