Cancon, broadband speeds, mobile pricing top CRTC priorities for 2012-2015
September 06, 2012
OTTAWA-GATINEAU – In unveiling its highly anticipated three-year plan the CRTC says it will focus efforts on three key pillars it refers to as “connect,” “create” and “protect.” The commission said it will be targeting specific results from each of the pillars and will report annually on its progress towards their achievement.
For example, it pledged to keep a close watch on the availability of Canadian programs, the amount spent annually on their creation and the audiences they attract. The regulator will also monitor broadband speeds and the choice of Internet service providers available to Canadians, as well as the prices paid for telephone services. And will track the percentage of Canadians receiving telemarketing calls and spam.
"The activities identified under each of these pillars will serve to foster a world-class communication system for Canadians as citizens, creators and consumers,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC in a statement.
The activities under the "create" pillar ensure that Canadians have access to compelling creative content from diverse sources and on a variety of platforms says the CRTC. Between 2012 and 2015, the commission will conduct a series of policy reviews, including a targeted review of the commercial radio policy for French- and English-language markets. It will also initiate a public proceeding to renew the licences of independent television services.
Ensuring Canadians can connect to quality and innovative communication services at affordable prices and have access to creative content will fall under the "connect" pillar ensure. Over the next three years the CRTC plans to review issues related to the accessibility of telecommunication services and the wholesale services large companies must provide to their competitors.
The commission will also focus on promoting compliance under its "protect" pillar and will continue to enforce the telemarketing rules and begin to enforce Canada's anti-spam legislation once it comes into force. In addition, the CRTC will promote the safety of Canadians by monitoring the deployment of the public alert system and reviewing the regulatory framework for next-generation 911 services.
"It can sometimes be a challenge for Canadian consumers to make informed decisions in a competitive marketplace," explained Blais. "We will continually review our regulatory framework to make sure it empowers consumers by giving them the tools they need. We will also ensure that the regulatory framework remains aligned with the evolving communication industry."
The CRTC says its efforts will be underpinned by a commitment to management excellence, which will ensure that its decisions are grounded in the public service’s values and ethics, that it is a “responsible steward of public funds and that it is accountable to Canadians.”
As part of its ongoing plans, the CRTC intends to review its regulatory framework to “ensure that it is forward-looking, effective and efficient, and that it remains aligned with a rapidly evolving and innovative environment.” In particular, the new framework will “empower consumers by providing them with the tools they need in order to make informed choices in a competitive marketplace.”
Other key ongoing activities for Create, Connect and Protect
- Broadcast licence applications (for new licences or licence amendments);
- Hearings on licence renewals of stations with non-compliance issues;
- Alternative dispute resolution;
- Process forbearance, review and vary, tariff and other applications;
- Numbering resource management;
- Monitor access to broadband Internet services, including download and upload speeds;
- Monitor the steps taken by television distribution companies to respond to consumer demands by increasing the flexibility of their packages;
- Coordinate and facilitate the activities of the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee;
- Coordinate and facilitate the activities of industry working groups (e.g., closed captioning working groups);
- Enforcement of policies and requirements related to:
- Internet traffic management practices;
- Voice over Internet Protocol 911 requirements; and
- Loudness of commercials;
- Manage the National DNCL operator and the Spam Reporting Centre; Draft and submit annual report to Parliament related to the National DNCL;
- Intake of complaints and reports to the Spam Reporting Centre;
- Participate in working groups related to CASL enforcement and coordinate with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Competition Bureau, and coordinate with Industry Canada for reporting requirements and public education;
- Develop and report on Performance Management Framework for CASL;
- Design public education and outreach initiatives for the National DNCL and CASL;
- Improve the CRTC website to ensure that it is intuitive to use and accessible to all Canadians, and monitor the effectiveness of changes made to the website;
- Monitor trends in consumer complaints;
- Conduct environmental scans to identify and monitor emerging trends;
- Improve outreach activities to consumers and public-interest groups;
- Publish research and analysis to stimulate public dialogue and debate of strategic issues;
- Monitor regulatory developments in countries designated as priority by the Canadian government and countries with progressive regulatory regimes; and
- Analyze, monitor and report to the public on the communication industry by publishing the annual Communications Monitoring Report.