Tuesday 10 April 2012

CRTC Consultation on the Cellular Sector

On April 4, 2012 the CRTC published a Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-206 seeking “views on the state of completion in the Canadian wireless sector.” The CRTC does not currently regulate the wireless industry. This is based on a 1994 conviction that there was enough competition in the marketplace to regulate the industry. Recent surveys, reports, and studies have led some to cast doubt on the feasibility of the unregulated approach. (Note: One might consider that Industry Canada/Spectrum Branch indirectly regulates the industry by application of regulations, procedures and control of spectrum that need to be followed in order to establish service.) 

A press release by Mr. David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie outlined his view of the current situation as expressed in the contents of a proposed private member’s bill. There are similar bill in other provinces in various states of progress. Quebec is the only province that currently has clauses affecting cellular service in their consumer protection related acts.

There is a mechanism in place to allow individuals and organizations to respond to the CRTC call for consultation. Details on how to participate can be found on the CRTC website. The call has generated significant response already and can be found at this site.

I suspect that the majority of the interventions will involve Mobile handset based service and their costs, poor customer service and lack of vendor response to customer concerns. I will be surprised if there are many interventions concerning data hubs and basic rural broadband (high speed) Internet service

In accordance with CRTC policy, all submissions will be made public and posted at the intervention site. It will be interesting to see how the cellular vendors respond to the consultation process.