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    OLD BOTTLES, NEW WINE  
       
   

December 2004- IGB Grant +1 514 849 3508
& Brian Sharwood +1 416 413 9381

 
    KEY HIGHLIGHTS:  
 

  • Canada’s communications regulator, the CRTC, recently released its 4th annual “Report on Competition”. SeaBoard contends this latest report is a disappointing, backward-looking document which hasn’t measured or addressed the profound shifts taking place in the communications industry.
  • The CRTC segments the communications market into: Long Distance, Local and Access, Mobile and Paging, Internet and Broadband, and Data, Private Line and Other industries. The Commission contends that each segment operates in a distinct economic sphere - there is little interaction or cross-elasticity.
  • The two increasingly dominant segments of the Commission’s template, the Internet and Broadband, and the Mobile and Paging sectors, are growing not in islolation, but, rather, they are expanding at the expense of traditional spheres like Local and Long Distance. Newer competitive service plans include, for example, all features ‘free’ and some offer unlimited North American calling plans. Where is the ‘long distance market’ now?
  • SeaBoard projects the wireless-only segment will be over 15% of what is now classified as the local wireline market by 2007, and as much as 25% within 6 years – this represents a profound shift in market dynamics.
  • Exacerbating the shift in the market will be the impact of VoIP: We project VoIP will represent 15% of the landline base (as a full substitute) by 2010. This will take away not only basic connectivity revenues from the incumbent providers, but also the profitable calling features revenue – with the long distance market segment that the Commission is so careful to measure and assess being essentially non-existent by that time.
  • There is a clear danger that the Commission may invoke a heavy hand on the market and make further adjustments to the marketplace dynamics based upon its blemished picture and flawed interpretation of the market. A tainted assessment of trends and market forces will lead to poor public policy – such a movement could have significant implications for the industry and the country.
  • We recommend that Industry Canada convene an advisory panel, familiar with trends in intersectoral competition, which can assist the department and Commission to look at the market with a keener gaze. Such a panel could assist policy makers to see the shifts and recognize new patterns and new dynamics in the market. The panel could assist government to understand the implications of these new forces on the structure of the industry. The present course, pretending that the Commission’s “Report on Competition” is a valid and complete view of the market is fraught with peril. Navigating these waters with a faulty chart will not serve the industry nor the public good.
 
   

 

 

 

   


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Thursday, 13 December 2018

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