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CRTC issues report on Canada’s telecom industry

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has released its inaugural report on the status of competition in the Canadian telecommunications industry.According to David Col...


December 1, 2001  


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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has released its inaugural report on the status of competition in the Canadian telecommunications industry.

According to David Colville, Chair of the CRTC, this is the first of five annual reports requested by the federal government, with respect to the status of competition in and on the deployment and accessibility of advanced telecommunications infrastructure and services.

The report, which notes that telecom services play an increasingly important role in the Canadian economy, found that industry gross revenues in 2000 were approximately $28.7 billion and have been growing at an average rate of nine per cent per year since 1996.

The report says that in recent years, the telecom industry has undergone a profound transformation, characterized by such factors as increasing competition, the consolidation of companies, price wars and the introduction, growth and bundling of products and services. Recently, as the industry has been affected by the downturn in financial markets, numerous companies have entered and exited the market, and competitors (as a whole) continue to report net losses.

Some markets, such as business long distance, data, Internet, mobile and terminal equipment (e.g. telephones) are significantly more competitive than others. For example, in 2000: competitors captured 49 per cent of business long distance minutes (46 per cent of revenues); international minutes were split approximately 50/50 between incumbent telephone companies and competitors; competitors accounted for 30 per cent of data revenues; and Internet subscribers were served by non-incumbent carriers (41 percent), incumbent telephone companies (32 per cent), large cable companies (19 per cent) and others (8 per cent).

Certain markets are not as competitive. In 2000, the incumbents had over 80 per cent of residential long distance minutes (73 per cent of revenues). As well, in the local services market, the incumbents had 96 per cent of total local lines in 2000.

The report also found that Canadian cable and telecom companies have made considerable investments in broadband infrastructure over the last several years. Approximately three-quarters of Canadians live in communities where high-speed services are provided by such companies.

The report says that on a per capita basis, Canada is ahead of all other G8 countries in terms of subscription to high-speed services. However, continued efforts and expenditures will have to be made. Approximately six million Canadians live in communities that do not have access to high-speed service.

Copies of the full report can be found on the CRTC Web site at www.crtc.gc.ca.


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