DAILY NEWS Nov 6, 2012 8:19 AM - 1 comment

Chairman Says CRTC Will be One of Canada's Most Trusted Organizations

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2012-11-06

Jean-Pierre Blais, the new Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, sees the country’s broadcast regulator as one of the country’s most trusted organizations, in his vision of Canada in 2017.

In remarks prepared for his speech to the recent annual conference of the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications in Ottawa, Blais noted that future gazing was a dangerous occupation, but he nevertheless embraced the opportunity.

First, he said, because 2017 marks the end of his term; it’s also the country’s 150th birthday, and so time for a review or reckoning.

In that year, Blais predicted, “I envision a CRTC that is viewed as a trusted enabler in its mission to ensure that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system. I see the CRTC as an institution that is trusted by Canadians. They trust us to ensure that Canada maintains and develops a world-class communication system. They trust us to defend their interests as citizens, as creators and as consumers.”

More than demonstrable trust, however, Blais also predicts some concrete developments in the national telecom infrastructure.

In 2015, for example, he expects high speed Internet to be available across the country, with all Canadians having access to minimum speeds of five megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and one Mbps for uploads.

He also envisions greater protection against cyber threats, from serious national security issues through to spam and unwanted telephone solicitations.

He sees consumer further protected by a functioning wireless services and industry operations transparency code.

Blais also noted the importance of support and acknowledgement for content creators in its broadest possible meaning, and of the country’s telecom carriers, both large and small.

With all this anticipated openness and trust, it was not surprising that Blais also noted a future redevelopment of the CRTC website, one which he noted has been oft-described as “impenetrable.”

All these developments will come, he predicted, in an environment where regulation is the still exception rather than the rule.

Last year all retail telecom services brought in about $40 billion in revenue, he cited. Of that amount, 93% derives from deregulated retail services.

“Over the past few years, we have refrained from regulating in cases where we believe that market forces are sufficient to produce the desired benefits for consumers. We want service providers to have full flexibility to respond to market conditions and provide Canadians with a choice of innovative services.”

Blais has still more speeches and presentations to make about the future of the CRTC and the Canadian media landscape; he is scheduled to present his vision for the CRTC’s approach to consumer protection in telecommunications and broadcasting at an upcoming PIAC meeting, where he is scheduled to also introduce Barbara Motzney, the CRTC’s new Chief Consumer Officer.



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Reader Comments

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mr.furious

I've read this article over twice, and I'm still trying to understand what reality this fellow inhabits. Trusted organization? Most Canadians don't really know or understand what the CRTC does in the first place, and the CRTC itself has never really moved to clarify that. I am reminded of a quote from the movie 'Pump Up the Volume' in which Christian Slater's character says,

'Imagine that...a ******* political hack in charge of free speech...'

...Ok, so Mr. Blais isn't quite a political hack, he is a career bureaucrat and a member of the Quebec bar association to boot. Not sure what other people's feelings are on those two career paths but he certainly proves with some of his statements that he has a typical high level bureaucrat's disconnect from reality. Every Canadian will have 5mbps high speed by 2015? Provided by who? Has he ever visited any rural areas in this country? There are providers out there right now whose plans are going the exact opposite direction. Even if they do, I can't see it happening by 2015 when so many of them are focused on LTE and fiber upgrades.

He feels the CRTC is trusted? I wonder what Canadians he has talked to lately to formulate that opinion :) Over the years I have viewed many of their decisions as either arbitrary, or clueless. Sometimes I am convinced they are rolling dice, or perhaps basing their decisions somehow on interpretations of chicken entrails or Rorschach cards.

I am reminded of the Usage decision that the CRTC made just a year or two ago...you know, the one that would have increased our internet costs dramatically and pushed the smaller ISPs and such out of business? The one where they might as well have worn 'sponsored by Bell and other large companies' jerseys? They were confident that the ruling would quietly pass and remain. They were a bit out of touch then. There are quite a number of other examples a person can dig up demonstrating their lack of real understanding of the average information consumer.

I view the CRTC a little like the international Olympic Committee. They are wined, dined, and fawned upon by those seeking approval, nobody really understands their reasoning, mandate, or criteria for decisions, and I assume they are well paid. It is sometimes rather ambiguous who exactly they are directly answerable to and when.

All that being said...this is just my opinion :)

Posted November 8, 2012 10:40 AM


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