CRTC chair candidates announced and Canadian third party broadband access worsens
The Wire report notes that at least three candidates have officially applied for chairmanship position vacated by previous chair Konrad Von Finckenstein. In addition to this, there is another rumour that someone much less well-known to the pro-internet community, Jean Pierre Blais within the CRTC is also one of the finalists .
The finalists known and rumoured to the public currently are as follows:
Len Katz Current Acting Chair and normally vice chair-man of telecommunications. Otherwise known as the "friend to the telecoms" to the pundits with most of his background having served with regulatory affairs with Bell and Rogers. It is expected that Canadians will see little change from the status quo under his stewardship.
Tom Pentefountas - He is current vice-chairman of broadcasting but has been accused of being entirely unqualified to be a commissioner much less of a chairperson, with his appointment occuring via cronyism whose purpose is to see that Harper's policy agenda is followed. He has even had the gall to suggest to OpenMedia in last year's UBB hearings that there is nothing undemocratic Canada's internet being controlled by a few companies. Of all the choices, Pentefountas is not only the most unqualified but also potentially the most dangerous for the little protections and oversight they still have left.
Timothy Denton - He has formerly been legal counsel for CAIP, and organization now largely superceded by CNOC and has chaired the Commission's Telemarketing Violations Review Panel. Canadians are fortunate to have a representative "from the other side" and Commissioner Denton is probably Canada's best hope in turning around the CRTC's current ineffectiveness at both regulating for and addressing the Canadian public interest.
Jean Pierre Blais - As much as any of us can tell on the internet, he is not a commissioner and not a person noteworthy enough to have his own profile on the CRTC website. What is know is that he has served in a behind-the-scenes legal capacity and has commented on media ownership (at about 3:15) in Canada publicly before. However when put on the record his stance seems to continue to favor the incumbents and further consolidation of media ownership so that Canadians can homegrow some majors strong enough to compete internationally. If Bell and Rogers are run the same way they are in Canada as they would be internationally, the world can only expect to experience some of the worst overcharging and anti-competitive behaviour in the industrialized world.
At this time we are unclear on whether or not the public even has any say in this decision, or typically this is decided purely within the CRTC's walls but whether or not Canadians have anything to look forward to in the coming years, will be decided in a few weeks. However Canadians are fortunate to have at least one candidate that may bring positive change. It is one more than anyone in the pro-internet community would have expected.
In other news, the situation continues to worsen with TPIA in Canada, in particular with Teksavvy as costs continue to rise as a result of the rates set by last year's decision while members of CNOC are still unable to obtain access to the capacity they need and are willing to pay for (see attached document), preventing them from signing up new subscribers and switching from existing incumbents - otherwise known as a stop sell. When we last spoke with Teksavvy repesentatives there was supposed to have been a 1 month enforceable timeframe in implementing the required capacity upgrades at least with Rogers cable, but as this issue has continued to drag on for close to a year now (encountered as early as July 2011) clearly what the CRTC says they do and represent and what they actually enforce effectively are entirely different things.
Measurement Lab's DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) team has also found that Bell and Rogers occupy the 4th and 6th spots respectively on the world's worst throttlers list. Here are the results Canada wide. Despite Bell formerly committing to ending throttling, the DPI studies show that Bell has actually increased their throttling. It might be fair to assume that similar vows from Rogers to cease throttling will also be not worth the paper they are pledged on.
This must be treated as a warning sign and STRONGLY considered by anyone with a choice of working or setting up business in Canada or elsewhere internationally. Even though the presence of these independents may exist on paper to still offer comparable options to other parts of the world, effectively these choices may be nullified depending on the location you are considering since in many cases they cannot actually sign up new business.