Do telecommunications in Canada need more regulation? – Poll

Poll: Telecommunications

Castanet Staff – | Story: 377505

The recent Rogers outage has spurred a flurry of policy recommendations from experts and elected officials, including legislation that would recognize telecommunication services as essential public ones, but experts say much of the responsibility to act falls on the federal telecom regulator.

The July 8 Rogers outage, which left over 12 million Canadians in a communications blackout and affected access to 911 emergency services, prompted the House of Commons industry committee to hold hearings. Rogers executives, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission officials were among the witnesses who testified on Monday.

During the hearings, MPs searched for solutions, including whether to ensure more laws were needed to telecom services were regulated like public utilities.

“This is obviously an essential service,” said New Democrat MP Brian Masse. “Why not a telecom bill of rights?”

The outage has led to added scrutiny of the telecom industry as well as critiques of the CRTC for its regulatory role.

Bram Abramson, a principle at 32M, a regulated telecom advisor, said the Telecommunications Act already recognizes telecom services as essential and that the answer to the Rogers outage is not “shiny new laws.”

“Ultimately, I don’t think the problem is that we don’t have enough laws, or that there isn’t recognition that it’s important,” Abramson said.

The CRTC is responsible for carrying out the objectives outlined in the Telecommunications Act, which calls for “reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada.”

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