What’s troubling me

My Twitter followers get a more “real-time” view of the issues that are top of mind for me. Some of you blog readers may still not be on Twitter, so I thought I might capture a few of the issues that may form themes for future posts, or discussions at The Canadian Telecom Summit in June.

In earlier tweets, I connected the current news of a battle between Toronto taxi drivers, Quebec’s law to order the blocking of gambling websites by internet service providers and the financial woes of CHCH television. In each case, a heavily regulated legacy industry is facing disruption from large multi-national internet-based applications. I ask the question of whether the three levels of government are responding appropriately. Are the legacy businesses being given the appropriate freedoms to respond to what is an asymmetric market?

Another issue came up in the context of a Teksavvy application to the CRTC in respect of Rogers upgrading its cable plant in the Toronto borough of North York (Willowdale):

Rogers has committed to keeping existing facilities in place for existing Teksavvy customers being served by the Rogers copper; should Rogers be forced to maintain its legacy copper infrastructure in the entire area, just in case Teksavvy signs new customers? Should Rogers customers be denied the benefits of fibre to the home? What is the financial impact of maintaining dual facilities? Where there are multiple sources of accesses to homes (this part of Toronto has Bell, Rogers and a number of independent providers), what is the policy rationale for ordering one to maintain facilities that it no longer requires for its own services? Who pays?

These are a couple of the issues troubling me right now. Inspiration for discussions over the holidays? Bah, humbug.

[Update: December 15, 4:45 pm]The CRTC has denied Teksavvy’s request for interim relief. It is important to review what it takes to get an interim order from the CRTC. As stated in the Commission’s letter:

The criteria applied by the Commission to assess applications for interim relief are those set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in RJR-MacDonald Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General) [1994] 1 S.C.R. 311. These criteria (the RJR-MacDonald criteria) are that: a) there is a serious issue to be determined; b) the party seeking the interim relief will incur irreparable harm if the relief is not granted; and c) the balance of convenience, taking into account the public interest, favours granting the interim relief. To be granted interim relief, an applicant must demonstrate that its application meets all three criteria.

While the Commission agreed that Teksavvy raised a serious issue to be tried, it did not accept that Teksavvy satisfied the other two criteria. As such, it denied the request for interim relief.

1 thought on “What’s troubling me”

  1. Three corrections. First, we certainly don’t protest Rogers’ “fibre upgrade”: in fact, we’re elated to see ongoing upgrades. Second, Rogers hasn’t committed to keeping existing facilities in place for existing TekSavvy customers — only to serve them over the upgraded network, which apparently works just fine with cablemodems.

    Third, and most importantly, we have not asked for Rogers to be forced to maintain its copper infrastructure. We have asked only that, if they are going to rip it out, they give us the advance notification that the rules say they are required to. If providers of wholesale services are allowed to simply ignore these notification requirements, then what is the point of them?

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