Friday, November 17, 2006

Canadian Telco Deregulation Update - Getting There...

I'm in Boston at the Avaya analyst conference, and have missed all the news about the Federal government's latest ruling on VoIP in Canada. Basically, the Cabinet has come out in favor of deregulating VoIP - finally - but only for access-independent services. Essentially, this means that the Canadian ILECs are freer now - not completely - to compete head on with the broadband offerings like Vonage and Primus, and of course with the cablecos like Videotron, Rogers and Shaw - neither of whom have been subject to regulation.

As a result, VoIP pricing has been all over the map in Canada, with Videotron clobbering Bell in Montreal with a discounted service, while Shaw has gone the other way with a premium priced service in Alberta. Shaw has also had success, just not as much due to the pricing. However, they've had a good run picking up any unhappy Telus customers, and to date, Telus doesn't have a residential VoIP offering, so there isn't as much pricing pressure on Shaw in the first place.

There's a lot more to this story, espcially understanding what access independent means. More importantly, I have to get going on my day here! I had this post ready to go yesterday, in fact, but PC problems got in the way big time.

So, I'm going to stop know, and direct you to Mark Goldberg, who has been posting about this steadily the past few days, and has a very good handle on the decision. Please review his recent blog posting, which includes his own white paper written last year, which proposes a lot about what has since transpired. Mark also comments on why the decision hasn't gone far enough.

Another fellow CDN blogger, Mark Evans, has also provided some commentary. For what it's worth, Mark E was my podcast guest last week, and Mark G was my guest the week before. Thanks guys!



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