The CRTC is doing much soul searching these days. Faced with the increasingly difficult task of balancing Canada's industrial needs with its social policy objectives, the commission is developing a new action plan that it hopes can do both effectively. Shirley Soehn, the commission's director general of telecommunications, outlined that vision recently before delegates at the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Conference in Toronto. For industry, it's a vision that espouses fair and sustainable competition, as well as increased reliance on market forces. But don't expect the social imperatives of the Telecommunications Act to disappear anytime soon. Below is an edited transcript of her speech. We want to ensure access to high quality telecommunications services for all Canadians. And we want regulation that continues to support the evolution of convergence. What's needed to get there? I think we need to continue with where we started. We had a vision in 1997 which covered a three-year period and it outlined some policy frameworks (that supported) competition as well as affordable and reasonable rates for all Canadians. And we are continuing to proceed with that same vision. We believe that a lot of the frameworks that were put in place are still valid, and we need to continue to pursue them. One thing that we haven't done much of, but intend to do more of, is monitor the industry's performance so that we can assess how successful our decisions and our policies have been. Then we need to identify those specific areas where they need adjusting. Rights of way access One of the major issues we're dealing with, and I think its divided into several areas, is infrastructure access. We have a proceeding underway right now with rights of way. We have had a lot of difficulty with carriers getting access to rights of way as well as access to buildings. These are bottlenecks, and they create barriers to entry. We have started with one proceeding on rights of way, and there will be others to try and remove those bottlenecks, to ensure there is access for everyone (and) choice for consumers. Those terms and conditions are also intended to promote facilities-base competition. Other key issues are interconnection, co-location and bundling. We started by developing separate frameworks for the different technologies and the different markets. We had a wireless framework, a long distance framework and a separate interconnection framework for local (telephony). Our intent with this proceeding is to look at all of them combined. Rather than starting up just a proceeding and asking people to submit comments, we're having an industry forum on June 7 and 8. People will present their views on what they believe needs to change and what we need to consider as part of our frameworks. A lot of issues brought forward to us are in the form of Part VII applications, where one carrier has a dispute with another carrier. The process right now is too slow in resolving disputes so it's our intent to bring parties together and try new ways of resolving disputes - staff mediation, (or) any type of dispute mediation resolution. We have received a lot of feedback over the last six months to a year on our timing with respect to responding to issues. It is recognized that with competitive new entrants, time is of the essence on these matters, so it is our intent to do everything we can to address things on a more timely basis. In conclusion, I think ultimately the expectation is that there will be multiple vendors with multiple telecom solutions for all types of customers. What were looking for is a number of facilities-based carriers and a multitude of niche players. And we're going to do everything we can to encourage more and more competition.