Ian Scott says Canada needs more wireless competition

In his final speech as chairman of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Ian Scott told the Canadian Telecom Summit (CTS) that there is not enough competition in Canada’s wireless market to benefit Canadians.

Scott points to the CRTC’s position on mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) as evidence of the steps the CRTC has taken to address this issue.

On October 19, the CRTC published terms that will govern the relationship between regional providers and incumbents

“With these parameters set, we look to the industry to take the next step – to enable large providers to negotiate in good faith with smaller regional counterparts,” Scott said.

Scott hopes the parties can work together to bring more options to Canadians. However, as past examples have shown, telecom companies often have problems working together.

Scott also addressed the cost and quality of internet service available to Canadians. He said the commission needs to fix its high-speed access (HSA) framework, which provides wholesale service rates.

“We know our framework is not producing the expected results and we need to fix that. Our intentions are so clear,” Scott said at CTS.

He did not mention reversing the CRTC’s 2019 decision that Internet rates were too high and needed to be lowered. The CRTC reversed the decision in May 2021 citing an error.

Scott’s time as chairman of the CRTC began four years ago when he was first elected. His original term was due to end in September but was extended by four months as the government searched for his replacement. It is unclear whether the role has been filled and whether Scott’s speech at the CTS was, in fact, his last speech as chair of the CRTC.