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News | 07/20/2004 4:00 am EDT

SeaBoard Group calls on Industry minister to reform CRTC
The SeaBoard Group in a July research paper calls on the government to reform the CRTC. The paper, entitled Observations on challenges facing you at Industry Canada and addressed to the Industry Canada minister, states: "A review of your industry regulatory instrument, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is in order. The commission’s mandates are contradictory, and to our mind, irreconcilably so." The report notes that the CRTC has ensured that Canadians get telecommunications services at the lowest rates in the developed world, but that means that communications providers get low returns for their investors. "A thinly rewarded communications industry is sure to be less vibrant, less experimental, less innovative than a more generously rewarded one," states the report. It encourages that government to worry less about price if it wants to encourage competition in the provision of local telephone services. "The CRTC needs to be re-invented. It needs to concern itself with industrial health as well as consumer prices. We run the risk of hobbling our service provision industry as it competes for capital in world markets," reads the report. "We run the risk too, of forcing Canadian manufacturers, inventors, application-development companies, to look elsewhere for trials, for experimentation, for risk-taking. Where the rewards are thin, so too will be the risks taken. The commission needs to defer more to the market in the setting of rates and prices; it only needs the instructions from you to do so."

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