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Regulatory Update At CWTA

Canadian telecommunications regulators are headed towards a "technology-neutral" stance, according to Shirley Soehn, Executive Director of the CRTC's Telecom branch. This stance is becoming increasing...

July 1, 2000  

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Canadian telecommunications regulators are headed towards a “technology-neutral” stance, according to Shirley Soehn, Executive Director of the CRTC’s Telecom branch. This stance is becoming increasingly necessary, due, at least in part, to an increasing number of wireless carriers applying for CLEC status.

The goals of the CRTC also include fair and sustainable telecommunications competition and reliance on market forces to ensure competition and equitable access for all Canadians (at least a single telephone line with Internet access) — goals that mirror the Commission’s objectives in the broadcasting arena.

Speaking at the ‘Regulatory Update’ at the recent CWTA show in Toronto, Soehn observed that following the CRTC’s International Competition decision, “hundreds of international carriers have registered with the CRTC” hoping for access to the Canadian market. The Commission also finds itself in the position of working on dispute resolution, particularly in the area of access, and Soehn emphasized that solutions must encourage choice, and terms and conditions of carrier-access must promote facilities-based competition rather than resale.

The Commission will continue with the CISC (CRTC Industry Steering Committee) to handle disputes, along with staff mediation and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) methodologies to resolve issues between carriers.

In addition to Soehn, attendees to the session heard from Industry Canada’s Fernand Leger, Director of Spectrum and Radio. Leger stated at the outset that “wireless will surpass wireline in Canada within three years or less.” Industry Canada also is focusing on increasing competition and increased reliance on market forces, as evidenced by last fall’s highly successful — and lucrative — spectrum auction, which brought in $172 million to the federal government.

Leger provided a fast-paced overview of current spectrum allocation for narrowband wireless, broadband wireless, fiber optic capability and satellite service in the FSS, CBS, C, Ku and mobile L bands. Noting that a number of Ka and DBS orbital satellite slots are available, Leger concluded with the observation that in future, the department will be looking at intelligent transport systems, and awaiting the results of new frequency allocations from the WRC conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

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