Committee
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 100 of 33188
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Good morning, everyone.
I call this meeting to order. Welcome to meeting number 7 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of September 23. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. So that you are aware, the webcast will always show the person speaking, rather than the entire committee.
To ensure an orderly meeting, I would like to outline a few rules as usual.
Members and witnesses may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of “floor” and English or French. Please select the language you will be using.
For members participating in person, proceed as you usually would when the whole committee is meeting in person in a committee room. Keep in mind the directives from the Board of Internal Economy regarding masking and health protocols.
Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. If you are on the video conference, please click on the microphone icon to unmute yourself. For those in the room, your microphone will be controlled, as normal, by the proceedings and verification officer.
I remind you that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair. When you are not speaking, your mike should be on mute.
With regard to a speaking list, the committee clerk and I will do our best to maintain the order of speaking for all members, whether they are participating virtually or in person.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee is meeting today to resume its study on the accessibility and affordability of telecommunications services.
As is my normal practice, I will hold up a yellow card for when you have 30 seconds left in your intervention and a red card for when your time for questions has expired. Please respect the time so that all members have a chance to question the witnesses.
I would like to now welcome our witnesses. For our first panel, we have, from the CRTC, Mr. Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO; Madame Renée Doiron, director, broadband and networking engineering; and Nanao Kachi, director, social and consumer policy.
I will introduce our second panel when we get to it.
With that, each witness will present for five minutes, followed by the round of questions.
We will open the floor to the CRTC for their presentation. You have five minutes.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:05
I was a little intimidated by your introduction, Madam Chair. As a former soccer player, getting a yellow and a red card flashed in front of me made me very nervous.
Thank you, Madam Chair, for inviting us to appear before your committee.
As you indicated, I'm joined by two of my colleagues. Renée Doiron is the director of broadband and network engineering, and Nanao Kachi is the director of social and consumer policy at the commission.
I'd like to begin by applauding your members for your study on the accessibility and affordability of telecommunications services. We take this opportunity to reiterate the need to close the digital divide by ensuring universal access to high-speed Internet and a high-quality cellular network. All Canadians—and I repeat, all Canadians—need fast, affordable and reliable broadband Internet and mobile access to participate fully in today’s economy and society.
This is something the CRTC has been actively advancing since declaring broadband Internet a basic telecommunications service a few years ago.
The CRTC’s universal service objective calls for all Canadians to have access to fixed broadband at download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second and upload speeds of 10 megabits per second, as well as an unlimited data option. It also calls for the latest mobile wireless technology to be available to all Canadian homes and businesses and along major roads.
While meeting this standard has been a priority for some time, the profound economic and social upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for broadband in communities that are underserved.
This past August, we announced the first recipients of this targeted funding. Five projects will share a total of $72 million to improve Internet access for more than 10,000 households in 51 communities in the Northwest Territories and northern Manitoba. The majority of these communities are indigenous.
These projects will serve some of the most remote areas in Canada, where the geography and climate present unique challenges to providing broadband Internet access and mobile services. The prices committed to by the recipients must be maintained for at least five years after the infrastructure is built.
I'll finish, Madam Chair.
In terms of affordability, recipients must provide services at a price that is no higher than the broadband services provided by service providers in major urban areas in the same territory.
Would you like me to stop there? If so, we are available for questions.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Scott.
Yes, you're a little over time, but I'm sure we'll be able to get some more information in the round of questions.
With that, I'm going to start with our first round of questions. MP Cumming, you have the floor for six minutes.
View James Cumming Profile
CPC (AB)
Great, thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, witnesses, for appearing today on this very important issue.
First, I want to delve into the CRTC's decision on wholesale rates and subsequent to that, the ask by government to review those wholesale rates. Do you think you got it right in the first place?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:12
I cannot speak directly to matters that are currently in front of the commission. As members are aware, any commission decision can be appealed to the courts on questions of law or jurisdiction, and they can petition government in relation to policy concerns; the Telecommunications Act provides for that. We also have provisions for parties to appeal to the commission. They're called review and vary applications. That has been done. We have received such applications, and we are in the midst of reviewing and developing the full record, and will render a decision as soon as possible.
View James Cumming Profile
CPC (AB)
When do you expect that decision to come forth? Would “as soon as possible” be before the end of the year?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:13
I don't mean to be unhelpful, but we don't predict or signal exactly when a decision would be released. The record is complete in that proceeding. Staff is completing its analysis. Then members at a commission meeting will make a collective decision. We are well aware of the significance of the file. We are working as quickly as we can.
View James Cumming Profile
CPC (AB)
Is it unusual, given the amount of effort and time you put have into this area, for you to have to revisit this decision?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:14
This is a very fundamental decision. We receive many requests to review and vary decisions. Sometimes they are, if you will, larger and more important, more fundamental proceedings, but often it can be on more technical, narrow matters. We take all such applications and treat all of them similarly. We seek comment, develop the record and then make the best decision we can.
View James Cumming Profile
CPC (AB)
I want to move on to the broadband fund. You said that $72 million has been allocated. You've closed the second round of applications.
Do you have any sense of what will be allocated through that second round as well? Are you on target to meet your goal of a $100 million?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:14
With the target, it's not so much the latter point; it's not a question of the $100 million being a target. That was what would be available in year one.
As to what's available, we set aside, if you will, or identify an amount that could be dedicated to satellite-dependent areas, predominately in the north. The rest of the fund is obviously for all of Canada. We've received applications, as you indicated, for all parts of Canada. We are proceeding with our assessment of that second tranche, if you will, of applications right now. We will endeavour to get some decisions out as quickly as we can. In all likelihood, some projects will move in before others.
View James Cumming Profile
CPC (AB)
How is this fund different from the universal broadband fund, the Infrastructure Bank fund, the connect to innovate fund and the connecting families fund? We have a lot of funds going.
Do you have any comment on that? Is there much interaction between the various managers of all of these different funds trying to meet the goal of connecting Canadians?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:16
Thank you very much
[Technical difficulty--Editor] difference between the CRTC's fund and others. Unlike most government funds, which are part of the budget and are fundamentally based on taxpayers' contributions, this is a CRTC-administered fund, and the monies come from the industry, not directly from taxpayers.
The second distinguishing feature I suppose is that we are an arm's-length independent agency. We cannot and are not directed by government to make decisions. We make them at arm's-length; we're quasi-judicial and we make decisions that are in the public interest independent of government.
On the last point about co-operation or coordination, our quasi-judicial nature by definition means that there's a degree of separation, but we work closely, as much as we can, with government. I sit on a deputy ministerial level coordination committee and we share what information we can. We work closely with ISED and other departments. For example, we work with them to develop the mapping technology to track the progress, and we provide information that the department subsequently makes available on its websites of the projects under way and completed.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much.
Unfortunately, Mr. Cumming, you are out of time.
We now turn to MP Lambropoulos.
You have the floor for six minutes.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:18
As I said a minute ago, on matters that are in front of us, I'm very limited in what I am able to say. As you pointed out in your question, we held a hearing earlier this year. We are doing a major and fundamental review of wireless. It does examine the state of competition and market power.
Following that we will address in an upcoming decision any remedies or solutions that are required to further ensure the affordability of wireless services.
View Emmanuella Lambropoulos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Would you say that this is the best way to make rates more affordable?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:19
Generally speaking I would say that competition is the best way, not regulation. I think that members will probably know that cellular mobile rates have never been subject to retail rate regulation since they were introduced in the 1980s. There was always a degree of competition. Clearly we need to continue to get mobile rates down and make them more affordable, but I firmly believe that competition, a competitive market, is the best and most meaningful way to do so.
View Emmanuella Lambropoulos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much.
As you mentioned, in today's day and age, in order to fully participate in the economy we need to make sure that all Canadians have access to broadband, to wireless Internet, to good connectivity. You've also mentioned that you have five projects currently under way to ensure that an 10,000 extra households will get access to wireless Internet. That 10,000 is quite far from where we need to get, though I know that we can't fix everything in one night. I also know that the CRTC is funded by the government, but what other plans would you suggest in this situation to make sure that we get even more households connected?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:21
The five projects I referred to were the first projects awarded funding by the commission's broadband fund.
In response to the second call, which was for all of Canada, we have received almost 600 applications from all regions of the country. They add up to a total of $1.5 billion. We have our work cut out for us. We are working quickly to assess those projects and we'll move forward. All of those are targeted areas that do not have acceptable levels of broadband service.
The short answer is that we have many projects in front of us and we will be approving further projects in the coming months on a regular basis.
View Emmanuella Lambropoulos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
The telecommunications companies are key to succeeding in making sure that all households have access to the Internet. I believe that the infrastructure that is already there because of these companies is what allows us to offer Internet services to many places, even those that don't necessarily have it yet.
How can we encourage telecom companies to continue to build infrastructure that would allow households in rural areas to get access to the Internet if we're also increasing competitiveness? How can we balance that, in your opinion?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:23
It's a good question. All questions are good; that's a particularly difficult question.
That's the challenge. First, I have to say that our broadband projects are targeted at areas where it's uneconomic and where there isn't a business case. Carriers or service providers need to have financial support to reach that objective of providing an appropriate level of service. That's the purpose of our fund.
In terms of how you encourage them to build and make an economic business case, you have to close the loop. It's usually a question of financing. That's what this fund and other government funds—provincial, federal and territorial—help accomplish.
View Emmanuella Lambropoulos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you so much.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:24
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:24
Why is it in the hands of private providers? I suppose the starting point is because it always has been. That has been the industry structure. The role of the regulatory agency was to supervise and regulate private sector players in their provision, initially, of basic telecommunications service, and now broadband and wireless services as well.
To be sure, we have a modern and highly effective system. If you will, we are just the policemen; we are the regulator in this. It is not a focus on what is the best industry structure.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:26
How will we reach it? We will reach it by continuing the projects and the approach that we have embarked upon. The Government of Quebec has been highly active. The federal government and the CRTC are committing funds. It's all with the intention of moving as quickly as possible to ensure that all Québécois and all Canadians have access to an appropriate standard of service.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:27
Yes, there is a common vision. The vision is clear, which is to bring an acceptable standard of service to all Canadians. In terms of coordination, I can speak only to the role of the CRTC. As I indicated, we work closely with government, as closely as we can given that we are quasi-judicial and operate at arm's length from government.
On technical matters and mapping, for example, in identifying areas that don't have service, we work closely together.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:28
Renée Doiron
View Renée Doiron Profile
Renée Doiron
2020-11-26 11:28
Renée Doiron
View Renée Doiron Profile
Renée Doiron
2020-11-26 11:29
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:30
Renée Doiron
View Renée Doiron Profile
Renée Doiron
2020-11-26 11:30
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We'll now move to MP Masse.
You have the floor for six minutes.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-11-26 11:30
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'd be open to and would encourage some time of mine being used to have that question answered, please.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:30
I'm sorry. I've lost the thread. Could you repeat the question? Was it just in terms of whether the CRTC should be the sole source?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-11-26 11:30
Yes. It's following up on Monsieur Lemire's question, which I think you asked one of your assistants to answer.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:31
My colleague, yes.
I'm going to paraphrase, obviously—my apologies.
Whether it should all be in the hands of the CRTC, given it's our role, if that is the question you're looking to have a response to, I think it's a multi-faceted problem. I think a variety of approaches are desirable.
When we think, for example, about the CRTC's fund of $750 million, if you were talking about a major infrastructure project, a very significant fibre build in the far north, for example, this single project would consume our entire fund.
I think some large projects might be better suited to having the Infrastructure Bank address them. Some are more suited to the government's universal broadband fund.
Our fund is focusing on where no one is receiving the basic service objective. A simple example is that if there's one person in the 25-square-kilometre hexagon, then it isn't eligible for our fund, but it is eligible for the broadband fund of ISED.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-11-26 11:32
I think that's a very helpful answer. What I have seen over the years is program after program announced, and some being used, some not. You're the last stop. How long do we wait, and how long do you evaluate whether anybody will move on those areas before your fund will then be engaged? I think that's part of the challenge we have here—figuring out the pecking order, so to speak, of when an area might lose out on some private sector investment, some quasi...or maybe other government sector, like municipal or provincial investment to connect, and then you, or having no service. Do you have a model for this?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:33
I think the model that exists is directionally right. I don't know how to qualify that.
We focus on the most needy areas, if you will. We fill the gap.
Larger programs can focus on any number of things. I don't mean to repeat myself, but if you use the example of a megaproject, it might require funding from multiple provinces as well as from numerous departments of the federal government. I think you need different types of approaches to address a very large, complex problem.
I'm not sure that answers your question.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-11-26 11:33
It does. It's quite helpful. This is part of our challenge, we literally have a dog's breakfast rolling out across Canada. As we try to sort this out, even affordability becomes a challenge, too, because of the types of technologies involved.
When we're looking at the CRTC's current supports, how many files do you still have to have to make a decision on for this sector, whether it be regulatory, or affordability, or programs for protection, and then also decisions for laying out...? Do you even have a guess? I know you may not be able to provide that, but how many decisions do you have to make in this file?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:34
Are you talking specifically about the broadband fund, or are you talking about all the various matters?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-11-26 11:34
I'm talking about all the various matters.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:34
I have a weekly meeting with my direct report in relation to telecom. We have a two-page document in which go through the status report of the major files. I don't have it in front of me.
As a quick sampling, in addition to having almost 600 applications that we have to go through for broadband, we're in the midst of the wireless proceeding. As we've already discussed, we're also in the midst of a review on rates for third party Internet access. We recently launched a proceeding to look at the regulatory environment in the north, that of NorthwesTel. We have a proceeding under way to look at other factors that might slow the deployment of wireless and broadband service, to look at access to utility poles. It goes on and on. I don't want to use up your time, but we have many files in front of us.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-11-26 11:35
That's my concern. I think, quite frankly, you have impossible time frames. There needs to be some support for modernizing our approach.
A lot of investment decisions are held up because of the CRTC, not because of the fact that people aren't working there and you don't want to move files along. I have every confidence in your getting work done there. I think that given the fact that Canada wants to expand these services rather quickly—and I know that as New Democrats we've been saying this is an essential service, one that is even connected to people's basic rights—your task is insurmountable to roll it out properly and affordably within a few years with the resources provided.
I don't know if you want to comment on your budgetary resources, and you don't necessarily have to do that, but do you think you have the functions to do—
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
My apologies, Mr. Masse. You're over time.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:36
Can I make one very quick response, Madam Chair?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:36
We do have the resources. In fact, we recover the cost of regulating from the carriers. Generally speaking, we do move reasonably briskly. We are referring to some unique processes.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We'll now start our second round of questions, beginning with Mr. Nater for five minutes.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you, Mr. Scott, for joining us this morning.
You mentioned there were about 600 applications in the second round. How many applications were submitted in the first round?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:37
I have to go to my notes, 15 or 16, I believe. Ms. Doiron, is that correct?
Renée Doiron
View Renée Doiron Profile
Renée Doiron
2020-11-26 11:37
Correct, 15.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
Those were focused mainly on areas that are currently served by satellite. Of those 15 applications, were there other companies other than the single proponent that actually received funding, NorthwesTel?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:37
First of all, NorthwesTel did receive funding in four of the projects. There was another in northern Manitoba that was not NorthwesTel in those initial ones. NorthwesTel had some other applications, as did a number of other operators among those 15.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
You mentioned that you were working quickly to go through those 600 applications. Is there a timeline you've committed to, to have those applications adjudicated?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:38
No. Again, I hope it doesn't sound defensive, but we don't commit to timelines. Whether it is in assessing the broadband proposals, or whether it is on another file, going back to Mr. Masse's question, our process is to develop a record. We make sure that all parties have an opportunity to file with us, develop the record, and then we make the best decision. That takes, if you will, the time that it takes. We move as quickly as possible on the highest value projects.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
I appreciate that, and I'm not going to get into a debate, but the argument and the concerns we hear is that the time it takes to adjudicate puts us in a very tough position, especially for some smaller Internet service providers who simply don't have the time or resources to spend their time doing application after application, while waiting on applications for other applications.
Mr. Masse mentioned a dog's breakfast of different programs supporting broadband across the country. That's a great comparison, because, as Mr. Cumming mentioned, we have this vast array of programs—except your suggestion is that they do different things and focus on different areas. I agree with that in a sense, but at the same time, especially when we're talking about smaller service providers, they're spending massive resources and time doing applications for these different programs.
As a matter of principle, would it not be better if these were streamlined into a single window application, a single organization, a single minister accountable, rather than being spread out across these different programs?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:40
I can only speak to the CRTC's program, and I tried to distinguish earlier why ours is different. It's not a government program; it doesn't come from taxpayers' contributions to a budget. It is from the carriers, and we are quasi-judicial and arm's-length, so ours is different.
To your point, I'm a little confused if you're referring specifically to the broadband process. I'll give you an example. On ours, we took the time to develop an application guide that is very detailed in order to support and assist smaller players so that they wouldn't have to spend a ton of time figuring out how to apply. We really have spent a lot of time and effort to facilitate that process.
I hope that answers your question.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, it does to a degree, and I'm glad there are guidelines and guidance, but it's still time consuming for smaller operations to do multiple applications for different funds. I recognize you are different and apart, and I will leave it at that, because I do want to move on to another question.
How many BITS licences applications do you receive on an annual basis from new proponents?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:41
That's not information I have at hand, but there aren't many applications. They have to be renewed from time to time. Carriers that operate internationally have to have a BITS licence, but it's not a statistic I have at hand. If you would like, I can undertake to provide the committee with a number, but it's not large.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
It would be great if you could provide us with a number.
I see that my time is just about up, so maybe I'll ask if you could also provide us with a written response on how many new entrants there are in the broadband market generally on an annual basis.
Thank you, Madam Chair, as I see that I'm out of time.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:42
We'll try to answer that.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Scott, if you could send that information to the clerk, he'll make sure that it circulates amongst the members.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:42
Yes, Madam Chair.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
We'll now turn to MP Ehsassi.
You have the floor for five minutes.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2020-11-26 11:42
Yes, thank you, Madam Chair.
I'd like to share my time with the member for Beaches—East York, please.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks very much, Ali.
Mr. Scott, I recognize that you said you don't want to comment on the current wholesale rates proceeding. That's fair, but you did say that the record is complete in that proceeding. When I read the Federal Court of Appeal's decision that upholds the CRTC's decision overall, there is indication that the company did not provide company-specific information. Can you at least confirm that when you say the record is complete, the companies have finally come forward with company-specific information this year as had been requested?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:43
I think, with respect, that you may be conflating some different files, so let me just explain quickly. On the review and vary applications, we received a number of them both from what we used to call “telephone companies” and “cable operators”. Then we open it up to comments from intervenors, the competitors typically, who then file their arguments. We have a complete record in the sense that there are no more submissions coming in on that, and we are in the course of examining it and will render a decision.
There's also a related proceeding in which we have a continuing process. It's called the “disaggregated access proceeding”. There has been some public commentary and media coverage about an area where specific information was requested, and certain parties don't believe that cable operators provided the necessary information. That may be what you're referring to.
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
I was referring to the productivity factor area of dispute. When the Federal Court of Appeal was walking through its analysis, the CRTC said “it is reasonable to expect that they have detailed company-specific equipment prices and capacities for traffic-driven equipment that they acquire on an annual basis”, and that the companies had not provided the company-specific information.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:44
Sorry, I understand your question better. Pardon me for using up some of your time.
That was the court looking at our reasoning in the decision, and they upheld it.
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
So have the companies provided the information that had initially been requested?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:45
The review and vary applications are not the same as what was in the original decision. They are arguing or addressing different issues and those same issues.
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
When it comes to low-cost, data-only plans, in 2018 the CRTC identified a gap in the wireless market for lower-cost data-only plans. Two years later, the lowest-cost plan I can find for one gigabyte is $28 through Virgin Mobile. Do you view that cost as low enough?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:45
If you want, I can go search for some metrics on what the current rates are; but again, I don't—
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Well, instead of doing that, I'll ask some specific questions, then.
Does the CRTC have an analysis of what basic data amount would be required if an individual were using it for basic browsing and VoIP services?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:46
There are lots of views on that. That was one of the issues that was certainly discussed in the wireless proceeding. A variety of groups—those arguing for particular targeted services and other stakeholders—have defined what they believe is a basic service, but there isn't a defined basic service by the commission, no.
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Right. Ought there not to be at some point? I mean, when you talk about a gap in the wireless market for lower costs, they don't have any plans. Unless you know what that basic service provision ought to be, how do you determine ultimately what should be made available?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:46
The competitive market determines what products are available. We're trying to ensure that the pricing for that service continues to go down as it has been. The gap—
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
On that point, because I'm out of time, I want to get to that cost point.
Among these carriers, the best plan I saw was $50 for 10 gigabytes from Freedom Mobile, but others were in the range of $30 for one gigabyte. If, say, they were required to provide two or three gigabytes of data, what is the additional cost to the carriers of providing that? Are they at some capacity that they can't provide more? What is the additional cost to them if they were to say that poor Canadians who can't afford basic Internet service, basic mobile services, were to get three gigabytes instead of one gigabyte?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:47
Retail wireless rates are not based, in a regulatory sense, on cost. We don't rate regulate wireless rates, so I can't speak to what the delta would be....
Sorry, Madam Chair.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:48
You may know that we addressed this question, at least in part, in a submission to the expert panel that reported on last year. The issue of support structures is critical. The question of jurisdiction about them is complex, and frankly not something that the commission can decide. There are some complex constitutional issues involved. There are municipal rights involved. There isn't a simple answer.
Fundamentally, if you are asking if it's a problem that there are divided jurisdictions, it's a problem in the sense that you need multiple approvals and it takes long and it's complicated. It does slow down or is a barrier to deployment. We do have an open process that is looking at that issue.
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:49
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:50
Generally speaking, the way we ensure or promote competition in areas where there is only one or a smaller number of providers is to allow resale, to allow access to third parties to then provide service using their facility.
I'm sorry, Madam Chair.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you so much.
Our next round of questions goes to MP Masse.
You have the floor for two and a half minutes.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-11-26 11:50
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to make sure my question is not taken out of context, because I think the regulator is critical for Canadians. When we've looked at the models that have been presented by the government over the years, the end result is that we have amongst the highest cost per gigabyte in the world. Is that not an indication that the regulation we have right now has not been sufficient in protecting consumers?
Ian Scott
View Ian Scott Profile
Ian Scott
2020-11-26 11:51
Can I just ask quickly for a clarification? Are you talking now about wireless service?
Results: 1 - 100 of 33188 | Page: 1 of 332

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data