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Canada's Telecommunications Policy Environment

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 16:55 by Catherine A. Middleton
This paper provides an overview of the telecommunications policy environment in Canada. Like Milner's (2009) article on New Zealand, this paper offers insights on international approaches to telecommunications policy. Canada's telecommunications history reveals a mix of private and public sector investment in regionally-based service providers. Canada did not have a single, publicly owned telecommunications carrier as was the case in Australia. Liberalisation of the telecommunications marketplace encouraged the development of competing infrastructures, with cable companies (traditionally focused on broadcasting distribution) and telephone companies now both providing wireline and wireless, voice, Internet and television services. Competition for wireline services remains regionally based, while wireless providers compete nationally. Although competition is intense, the broadband and wireless markets are highly concentrated. Competition in these markets has not resulted in extensive consumer choice, low prices or innovative services. Most Canadian consumers have access to broadband connectivity, but uptake rates now lag other OECD countries, for services that are slower and more expensive than those available in many other locations. Mobile phone penetration in Canada is on par with that of developing nations. The paper explores the characteristics of Canada's telecommunication markets, discusses the policy environment and notes that government has not offered a vision of a digital future for Canada.