Monday, April 4, 2005

Canada - ILECs Testing the CRTC

The Canadian market is just starting to get its VoIP legs, but our regulator, the CRTC, has been slow to make up its mind on what to do with VoIP. Our big ILECs - Bell and TELUS - are used to getting their way, but that's not what's happening as we continue to hang in this void. I made some reference to this in my posting about Vonage, but the following links illuminate the situation a bit more.

Last week, TELUS contended that Shaw was not playing fair with the recent launch of Digital Voice VoIP service to their cable subscribers.

While TELUS's move was defensive, Bell's move last week was offensive, and more proactive in terms of pushing the envelope with the CRTC. I spoke to Charlotte Wolter of New Telephony about this, and here's her take on the situation.

The U.S. tends to regionalize in terms of North/South, but in Canada, it's East/West. TELUS and Shaw are head-to-head in the West, while Bell is up against Videotron and Rogers in the East. In both cases, the regulatory issues are front and center. They are symptomatic of the differing approaches taken to VoIP by the CRTC and the FCC. In true Canadian fashion, we seem to know what VoIP is not, but nobody can define what VoIP is.

I have no doubt other situations will soon arise to challenge the CRTC, and if that's what it takes to get a clear resolution on VoIP, then so be it.

Of course, it will be very interesting to see how the CRTC responds, and I'll keep you posted. Sure would be great to have things settled in time for Voice on the Net Canada, but I'm not holding my breath.

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