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Veteran Telecom Exec Could Make CRTC Less Consumer Friendly, Advocates Warn

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courtesy National Post

GATINEAU, Que. — The appointment of telecom industry insider Ian Scott as the next chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has sparked both concerns that the regulator could soon be taken in a less consumer friendly direction and hope for a new direction.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly announced Scott’s appointment Tuesday, while also naming Caroline Simard as the CRTC’s vice-chairwoman, saying the two have a “deep understanding of what Canadians expect in their telecommunications and broadcasting systems.”

Advocacy group OpenMedia said former chairman Jean-Pierre Blais, who chose not to reapply for the job when his term came to an end earlier this year, did a lot to open the telecommunications marketplace to increased consumer choice and affordability.

“This is a concerning choice by the government,” said OpenMedia communications manager Meghan Sali, who also noted that, under Blais, the regulator declared broadband Internet a basic service in Canada.

“Canadians were hoping for somebody with a strong consumer rights background, and will undoubtedly be disheartened to see the Trudeau government place someone from industry into the top decision-making position.”

Media producer’s union ACTRA welcomed the appointments, suggesting a change in leadership at the CRTC was long overdue.

“We hope Mr. Scott and Ms. Simard can bring a new direction to the commission,” said ACTRA national executive director Stephen Waddell.

“A key part of the CRTC’s mandate is to ensure the vibrant expression of Canadian culture and identity. That has been ignored too often under the outgoing chair,” he said. “We welcome a change.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, this is a concerning appointment. JPB introduced a lot of consumer-friendly initiatives: $25 basic TV, end to phone unlocking fees, end to sim-sub requirement for Super Bowl coverage, pick-and-pay channel selection, said “no” to TV broadcasters wanting to shut down OTA transmission and more.

    The new man is clearly coming from the corporate side. He does not seem the type that will pick a fight with the big three.

  2. This is why everyone is cutting the cable and getting everything off of the internet…..including telecommunications. In some countries……ONLY Whatsapp is used for phone calls.

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