ISED outlines new policy direction for CRTC focused on reliability of service, consumer rights

The new direction focuses on wholesale internet and competition in the wireless market

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada has issued a new policy direction for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

This overtakes the 2006 policy direction and builds on the 2019 direction, which focuses partly on the competition with wholesale internet access and increasing competitors in the mobile wireless sector.

Wholesale internet

ISED has directed the CRTC to operate a framework that provides wholesale internet services at reasonable rates, which should be monitored and adjusted as necessary. A variety of speed options, including low-cost ones, should be included.

The CRTC is also tasked with ensuring wholesale internet is available across the market. This means it has to direct the supply of aggregated wholesale internet service. This must run alongside other mandated wholesale services until the commission determines that competition will continue if aggregated services aren’t mandated.

Aggregated service is one type of wholesale broadband services competitors can access to utilize a larger company’s high-speed networks. The other type is disaggregated.

According to the CRTC’s website, in short, aggregated service gives competitors only a few points to connect to a larger company’s networks. This sees them heavily relying on the larger company’s network and results in higher costs to transport traffic.

Disaggregated service, on the other hand, allows competitors more flexibility in accessing the network of larger companies and allows them to choose how they want to move traffic. Disaggregated services remain mandated by the CRTC.

Mobile wireless competition

The government has directed the CRTC to create competition on the mobile wireless market by monitoring its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model and making changes as necessary. ISED said the commission must consider a variety of factors, including how remote regions are affected when it comes to the time it takes to deploy wireless networks.

Other matters

ISED also directs the CRTC to improve the reliability of its service, consumer rights, and improve how Canadians with disabilities can access telecom series.

“We will continue to push aggressively to generate innovation, improve coverage, reduce the costs of telecommunications services for Canadians and ensure the telecom sector meets the high standard Canadians rightfully expect,” François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said in a press release.