Regulator shows true stickler grit

Canada’s controversial telecom policy and regulation procedures may be headed for a shake-up early this summer.

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel last month called on Minister of Industry Maxime Bernier to cut back the role of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in setting rates. But Bernier now finds himself at a crossroads after the CRTC laid out stringent conditions for local forbearance, or circumstances where it might consider loosening its grip on regulation.

Instead of leaning towards deregulation, the CRTC has listed complex criteria under which an incumbent telephone company (telco) can ask the CRTC to “forbear from regulating.”

The decision shows that the CRTC will not change anything it is currently doing or is likely to do in the foreseeable future, says Tony Stikeman, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Competitive Telecommunications.

“It’s a complete re-emphasis and re-dedication to the status quo,” he says. “The CRTC has thrown the gauntlet down and is not willing to countenance any liberalization or deviation from its previous position.”

Stikeman says the Coalition, which represents industry associations comprising over 12,000 Canadian companies, has asked Bernier to force the CRTC to back off on regulating the tele

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