Major changes in the way the CRTC deals with telecom processes are on the way, possibly within a matter of weeks, according to newly-hired director Len Katz – no stranger to industry frustrations with the lengthy amount of time it can take the commission to deal with matters both large and small. He tells Network Letter that a series of quick wraps on three recent applications is part of a major sweep of the CRTC’s process. In the past two weeks, industry eyebrows have been raised at the speed with which the commission has dealt with three issues: Part VII applications on an appeal of 2003-72 and another on local service promotions, as well as another dispute over section 29 of the interconnection agreements. In each case, the matters were closed with a letter by staff to the interested parties within a couple of weeks of the original filings.  Sources also say that the commission has been dealing with filings it views as deficient by quickly sending them back, without any back-and-forth discussion between itself and the applicants. Telecom executives are trying to make sense of the sudden speed with which the regulator is dealing with matters that used to take months – or even years – to grapple with, and are uncertain whether the shift is positive or whether there needs to be greater transparency in the process. Len Katz, newly installed as executive director for telecom at the CRTC January 5 (NL, Jan. 18/05), says the changes being noticed by industry players are deliberate, and that a major announcement could be made as early as within the next couple of weeks on various process issues. "The whole plan was to streamline the entire decision-making and regulatory process. So, yeah, there’s been some major changes already underway, and there’ll be some major changes to come. And, there’ll be some major announcements of those changes that’ll be issued very shortly." Asked if "very shortly" might mean a week or two, Katz says, "yes, I’d say so." Katz reveals few other details of the announcement, but notes that the above-mentioned decisions are part of a broader concerted effort to reduce the amount of time it takes to render decisions."You mentioned some of it right now in terms of expediting decision-making processes, how we turn things around, the commitments that we have to make to industry with regard to responsiveness, and so we’re doing an awful lot in that regard." Industry sources have expressed concern without more details about the proposed changes that due process will still be followed in a reformed regime. One executive tells NL that he’s uncertain how the commission dealt with the applications before staff wrote their letters declaring the matters closed. He guesses that the commissioners had the final say on the decisions after being presented with a list of issues that needed to be dealt with.  Otherwise, he says, the process would be "offside." Other sources have noticed the quick turnaround, and say they’re still monitoring the situation, and haven’t decided whether the change is positive or negative. Katz reassures the industry by saying that due process will still be followed in the new system. "There’ll be process in all cases. I mean, in some cases, if applications are deficient or something, we’ll take them off our desk without having to go through a full process…Any policy decision that needs to be made is being made by the full commission. And, it’s being made a lot sooner and a lot faster." Some observers have noted that Katz is likely working closely with new telecom vice-chair Richard French on the reforms, and that the duo are likely responsible for a new, more responsive attitude about decisions.