The Government of Canada recently announced a new proposed policy for the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that outlines new rules to improve competition and ultimately lead to lower prices and better telecommunications for Canadians. Since the CRTC is an independent regulator, the policy outlines the Canadian government’s priorities for these telecommunications services. This new outline would override the existing policy directions but bring continue to highlight the importance of “competition, affordability, consumer interests, and innovation”, as was in the 2019 direction.

The new proposed policy aims to “enhance wholesale Internet access and competition for more affordable internet” by requiring large companies to continue to give competitors access at regulated rates to allow for market competition, with emphasis on the CRTC’s role in providing timely wholesale rates. The policy will also direct the CRTC to ensure that wholesale Internet access is available equally across the market and also require large companies to meet the Internet speed demands of Canadians.

The policy will also “increase mobile wireless competition for more affordable cellphone plans” by encouraging the CRTC to improve its hybrid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and suggests that the government is prepared to move to a “full MVNO model if needed” to contribute to competition. The policy will also require new measures to improve transparency of service pricing to make it easier and cheaper for consumers to change or cancel their services. Moreover, the CRTC will be directed to improve the accessibility of telecommunications services for those with disabilities.

In terms of speed, the policy will direct the CRTC to improve access to telephone poles and to continue implementing its Broadband Fund to meet connectivity needs. Finally, the policy will direct the CRTC to use the tools available to obtain information to make decisions “while being more proactive in strategic planning and market monitoring”.

Read the complete Government report and the unofficial text of the policy direction.