26January 2024
  • Minister of Innovation François-Philippe Champagne, Science and Industry of Canada

Disrupting the Telecommunications Market in Canada: A Call for Innovation

In the vast landscape of Canada, where the majestic Rockies meet the sprawling cities of the east, lies a telecommunications market ripe for disruption. For years, Canadians have grappled with limited choices, high prices, unfair competition, and subpar services in their quest for reliable connectivity. However, amidst these challenges, there emerges a beacon of hope: the potential for innovation to reshape the telecommunications landscape in Canada.

The Status Quo: A Monopoly in Disguise

Canada's telecommunications market has long been dominated by a handful of major players, effectively creating a quasi-monopoly or oligopoly that stifles competition and limits consumer options. With the Big Three – Rogers, Bell, and Telus – holding a stronghold over the industry, consumers often find themselves at the mercy of exorbitant prices and lackluster service offerings.

One of the primary factors contributing to this oligopoly is the significant barriers to entry for new competitors. The cost of building and maintaining telecommunications infrastructure on a national scale is prohibitively high, effectively deterring smaller players from entering the market and fostering genuine competition.

As a result, Canadian consumers are left with limited choices and little recourse when it comes to seeking affordable, high-quality telecommunications services. The lack of competition has led to complacency among the incumbents, who have little incentive to innovate or improve their offerings in the face of minimal competition.

The Call for Disruption: Unlocking Innovation

Amidst this landscape of stagnation, there exists a pressing need for disruption – a shake-up that challenges the status quo and ushers in a new era of innovation and consumer empowerment. The time has come to break the stranglehold of the incumbents and pave the way for a more dynamic and competitive telecommunications market in Canada.

But how can this be achieved? The answer lies in embracing innovation across all fronts – from technology and infrastructure to business models and regulatory frameworks. Here are a few key areas where disruption can make a meaningful impact:

Infrastructure Sharing and Collaboration:

 Encouraging collaboration among industry players to share infrastructure and resources can significantly reduce the barriers to entry for new competitors. By leveraging existing infrastructure rather than duplicating efforts, new entrants can enter the market more easily and compete on a level playing field. It has taken far too long before any third-party ISPs are even able to sell fibre internet owned by the incumbents. The incumbents have a head start with their fibre networks and with the help of government subsidies, they were able to lay the groundwork for their fibre networks in major cities and urban centres. The CRTC should set regulations for wholesale rates and aggregate sharing of fibre infrastructure.  This will lay the groundwork for more fibre providers on the market and more choices for Canadian consumers.

Investment in Next-Generation Technologies:

Embracing emerging technologies such as 5G, fiber optics, and satellite communications holds the key to unlocking new possibilities in the telecommunications landscape. By investing in cutting-edge infrastructure and exploring innovative solutions, we can enhance connectivity, improve service quality, and drive down costs for consumers.

Regulatory Reform:

Reforming outdated regulatory frameworks and promoting policies that foster competition and consumer choice are essential for breaking up the telecommunications monopoly in Canada. By enacting measures to promote fair competition, ensure transparency, and protect consumer interests, regulators can create an environment that encourages innovation and empowers consumers. Having the incumbent dictate wholesale rates while undermining those rates by selling to consumers lower than set rates will only kill third-party ISPs due to unfair competition. There needs to be stricter regulation or separation from wholesaler to internet service provider.

Support for New Entrants and Startups:

Providing support and incentives for new entrants and startups in the telecommunications sector is crucial for fostering innovation and diversity in the market. Whether through grants, tax incentives, or regulatory support, governments can play a pivotal role in nurturing a thriving ecosystem of telecom startups that challenge the dominance of the incumbents.

The Road Ahead: A Vision for a Connected Future

As we chart a course toward a more vibrant and competitive telecommunications market in Canada, we must embrace innovation, collaboration, and bold new ideas. By breaking down barriers, fostering competition, and empowering consumers, we can unlock the full potential of Canada's telecommunications sector and pave the way for a connected future that benefits all Canadians. As you know Canada is already among the most expensive in telecommunications on this earth. We try to keep plans affordable for all Canadians. Take a look at our internet page for available plans in your region.

The time for change is now. Let us seize this opportunity to disrupt the status quo, unleash the forces of innovation, and build a telecommunications market that truly serves the needs of the people. Together, we can break up the monopoly, usher in a new era of connectivity, and transform the way Canadians connect, communicate, and thrive in the digital age.