OTTAWA, AND GATINEAU, QC, April 9, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today launched a major proceeding to ensure that Canadians have access to world-class telecommunications services that enable them to participate actively in the digital economy. Canadians can participate in all stages of the consultation, including the public hearing.
The first phase of the proceeding, which begins today, consists of collecting information to better understand the telecommunications services provided to Canadians and determine the areas in Canada that are not being adequately served. The issues raised include the following:
- services that should be identified as necessary for Canadians to participate in the digital economy
- upload and download speeds necessary in this digital age
- the possible need for funding mechanisms to support the provision of modern telecommunications services, and
- the roles of the economic and regulatory players in telecommunications services, such as the private sector, governments and the CRTC.
The proceeding will also serve to examine the CRTC's role in ensuring that basic telecommunications services are available to all Canadians. The CRTC's current policy ensures that Canadians in all regions have access to, at a minimum, a low-speed Internet connection.
Comments for this first phase must be sent to the CRTC by June 30, 2015, in one of the following ways:
- filling out the online form
- writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2, or
- sending a fax to 819-994-0218.
In the second stage, which will take place in fall 2015, the CRTC will hold a further public consultation to collect comments from Canadians regarding the issues identified. The details of this consultation will be announced at a later date.
The CRTC will also hold a public hearing, which will begin on April 11, 2016, in Gatineau, Quebec.
Canadians rely on telecommunications in their everyday lives. Thanks to broadband Internet services, Canadians have access to a range of important online services, such as e-health, e-learning, banking and government services. As more devices become connected to networks, Canadians are creating and making use of innovative applications. For instance, municipalities are using smart traffic control systems to more effectively manage congestion and home owners are using smart metres to measure their energy, water or natural gas consumption in real time. To learn more about the CRTC's role, Canadians are invited to watch a new video. [Link to video]
In 2014, the CRTC appointed Commissioner Candice Molnar to investigate the Canadian satellite transport service market. Among the findings contained in her investigation report, which was made public today, Commissioner Molnar found that satellite dependent communities continue to rely almost exclusively on Telesat's satellite network.
Given its continued market dominance, Commissioner Molnar recommended that the CRTC initiate a public review of Telesat's current price ceiling. Furthermore, she recommended that the CRTC consult Canadians to determine whether the price ceiling for certain Telesat satellite services is still appropriate in light of current market conditions and future projections.
Accordingly, the CRTC is initiating a public consultation today to review the price ceiling for certain satellite services provided by this Canadian company. Canadians have until
August 21, 2015, to file their comments.
- The CRTC is initiating a major proceeding to review basic telecommunications services in Canada.
- Access to basic telecommunications services is crucial for active participation in the digital economy in a communications environment that is constantly changing, but also for Canadians in their daily lives.
- Canadians need quality telecommunications services for their daily activities, such as banking, educational, machine-to-machine applications, smart transportation grids or simply for entertainment.
- The CRTC's current policy ensures that Canadians in all regions have access to low-speed Internet services. The CRTC must review this policy in order to be in step with the future and the changing needs of Canadians.
- The first phase of the proceeding focuses on collecting information to better understand the telecommunications services provided to Canadians and determine the areas that are not being adequately served or not being served at all.
- During the second phase of the proceeding, which will take place in fall 2015, the CRTC will hold a public consultation to collect comments from Canadians regarding these important issues as they related to basic telecommunications services.
- A public hearing associated with this proceeding will begin on April 11, 2016.
- Today, the CRTC is also publishing an inquiry report on satellite services in Canada.
- Further to the recommendations set out in the report, the CRTC is initiating a public consultation on the price ceiling for Telesat fixed satellite services.
- The purpose of the proceeding is to determine whether the price ceiling for certain Telesat satellite services is still appropriate in Canada.
"The proceeding we are initiating today is both extensive and important for Canadians. As our habits change in this digital age, our telecommunications services must keep pace. Canadians are looking to the future, and the CRTC wants to ensure that the technology they depend on does so as well. The proceeding we are launching will help us ensure that telecommunications services meet the changing needs of Canadians.
I would also like to thank Commissioner Molnar for the excellent work she accomplished during her inquiry of satellite transport services. Further to the recommendations included in Commissioner Molnar's report, the consultation launched today will examine the price ceiling for satellite services."
Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman
"Today, I presented a report on satellite transport services that was prepared further to an exhaustive inquiry. I would like to sincerely thank all those who contributed to this report. The inquiry in question revealed that the prices for satellite services are well below the price ceiling that applies to Telesat. It is for this reason, in particular, that I recommended that the CRTC consult Canadians to find out if it continues to be appropriate to maintain such a price ceiling, among other things."
Candice Molnar, CRTC Regional Commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-134
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-133
Satellite Inquiry Report
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-76
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-685
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-44
Telecom Decision CRTC 2014-627
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SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
For further information: Media relations: Tel.: 819-997-9403, Fax: 819-997-4245; General inquiries: Tel.: 819-997-0313, TDD: 819-994-0423, Fax: 819-994-0218, Toll-free no.: 1-877-249-CRTC (2782), TDD - Toll-free no.: 1-877-909-CRTC (2782)