The Canadian telecommunications market is dominated by the three big carriers. The carriers’ prices are way too high, speeds are too slow, and a large portion of the country is still left with low or no connectivity.
A recent survey by polling firm EKOS showed that the majority of Canadians in rural areas have few options and poor connection speeds. The people who were polled believe that the government should step in to fix the problem.
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute believes that the solution is to stop the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) from regulating prices and competition.
The report also slams the CRTC’s “skinny plans” that must cost no more than $25 per month in order to appeal to low-income Canadians.
“Regulation has begot regulation all in the name of so-called consumer choice.”
The report notes that there have been issues that the CRTC hasn’t been able to solve. Firstly, the cost for a telecom to provide high-speed fibre internet is ridiculously expensive, making it really difficult for anyone outside the big three to afford.
Finally, the CRTC has not been able to solve internet access in northern Canada. Currently, access is limited and extremely expensive, with most places only being able to access the internet over satellite.
“Is the solution to take away the CRTC’s ability to dictate access standards and leave it up to the market to solve this problem? As many experts have noted, the entire issue is that there’s not enough market demand in sparsely-populated rural and Northern communities for even Canada’s largest companies to invest there. The CRTC operates a fund to subsidize infrastructure expansion, which the largest telecoms in the country pay into. This year they actually pushed back against a CRTC initiative that would ask them to pay into the fund through their internet revenues in addition to cable.”
Do you think the government should take away the CRTC’s ability to dictate standards and regulations? Let us know in the comments below.