Representatives of the telecom industry are excited by the appointment of the new executive director, telecom at the CRTC. They feel Leonard Katz’ experience in the wireless sector brings a new perspective to the job. "They’ve never really had anyone there with a strong wireless background," Don Bowles, VP regulatory for Call-Net Enterprises Inc. tells Report on Wireless. "It seems it’s such a big deal these days, that should be an interesting asset." Katz was appointed to his new position on January 5. He previously worked at Bell Canada, Cantel and Rogers Cable. He succeeds Shirley Soehn, who has agreed to stay on as a special advisor to assist in the transition. The five years that Soehn spent at the helm of the telecom section saw a great upheaval in the marketplace. The penetration rate of wireless exploded while the number of major players decreased to three. On the wireline side, CLECs appeared and disappeared with startling regularity and ILECs began to infiltrate one another’s traditional territory. New delivery methods such at Voice over IP and powerline communications are starting to emerge.  Despite the changes, many telecom observers predict that the commission will be facing many familiar problems. Bowles does not view technology as anything other than a difference in approach."When they switched from analog to digital it certainly was a revolution but did the world change overnight?" he asks. "Not really. Service got better, capacities improved, prices came down but 99% of the time people ended up still doing the same thing with their telephones. So IP is going to make things more efficient and there’s bound to be new services but I’m not sure there’s going to be the fundamental shift that everyone talks about. I think wireless has certainly been, that’s been a major story. But I think that the raw tools that the commission has to work with, they’re all still there. It’s how you use the tools, not the tools that are available." Ken Engelhart, VP regulatory affairs at Rogers Communications Inc., believes that Soehn was executive director during very difficult times. He grudgingly admits that her finest achievement was not one that found favour in his section of the telecom world. "She really revamped the contribution mechanism but that was certainly a big success as far as the long-distance carriers are concerned," he tells RoW. "The wireless industry, including Rogers Wireless, has some misgivings about the way contribution was revamped because we’re the only wireless sector in the world that ends up subsidizing the wireline companies so that’s a bit of a problem. Certainly from the perspective of the long distance industry, the reform of the contribution mechanism would probably be her greatest accomplishment." Now that the new executive director is in place, the CRTC must find a new vice-chair for telecom, replacing David Colville, who retired at the end of last year. Insiders concede it will be hard to find someone with the precise expertise of Colville, who spent 14 years at the commission. "I think there the skill set is obviously somebody who has broadbased industry experience, certainly comes with an understanding of the issues and challenges that are underway," Janet Yale, executive VP for legal, government and regulatory affairs at TELUS Corp., states. "I think it would be difficult for someone who wasn’t well versed in these issues to deal with them because they are so complex. Ideally, somebody with a mix of public and private sector experience so that they have that broad range and understand the need to work collaboratively between the public and private sector." Engelhart echoes these sentiments, saying an experienced vice-chair would be able to hit the ground running alongside Katz. A greener candidate, on the other hand, would face a tougher learning curve, he adds.