Communications Monitoring Report 2013: Introduction

 

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1.0 Introduction

The CRTC has been issuing annual monitoring reports on the broadcasting and telecommunications industries since the late 1990’s. Over time, these reports have followed market developments, technological changes and consumer needs.

This report provides a window on the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors, and is intended to foster an open and better-informed public discussion of broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory policies and issues. The Commission invites parties to use this report to enrich their participation in the regulatory process.

The report contains disaggregated data on the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications industries and their markets, as well as international comparisons. It supports evidence-based decision making. The report provides a means to assess the impacts of market and technological developments on, among other things, the cultural, social, and economic policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act (collectively, the Acts), and to review the effectiveness of the CRTC’s regulatory frameworks and determinations in achieving those objectives.

Specific elements of the monitoring exercise change over time to take into account regulatory or market developments such as new technologies, changes in market structure or in domestic or international regulations and agreements, or the introduction of new or evolving services. These changes help ensure that the CRTC Communications Monitoring Report continues to be a useful tool for Canadians and other stakeholders, including regulators, and industry players.

What’s new in this report

A number of changes have been introduced this year in the report to enhance Canadians’ informed involvement in the Commission’s work by providing them with financial, pricing and other key indicators and trends. Consumption statistics, such as pricing, service penetration and complaints are presented for matters that have a direct impact on Canadians.

The contribution and spending regimes section has been expanded to contain additional details on Canadian programming expenditures related to programs of national interest. This will assist in assessing the extent to which expenditures on programs of national interest are effective in achieving the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act.

To keep abreast of the impact of market forces on consumers and on TSPs that depend on facilities-based TSPs, companies were required to provide local telephone pricing details, as well as more granular wholesale details. These results are contained in sections 2 and 5, respectively.

1.1 Methodology / Data collection

This report is based on (1) the responses from the broadcasting and telecommunications undertakings to the CRTC’s annual broadcasting returns and telecommunications data collection forms, issued jointly by Statistics Canada and the CRTC (referred to collectively as “CRTC data collection”); (2) data collected from other sources, including Statistics Canada, Industry Canada, company-specific financial reports, BBM Canada, and BBM Analytics’ MTM reports; and (3) information previously filed with the CRTC in the context of regulatory proceedings. Unless otherwise noted, all broadcasting data in this report are for the 12-month period ending 31 August for the years quoted, whereas all telecommunications data, including Internet service data, are for the 12-month period ending 31 December for the years quoted.

With respect to residential broadband availability data, the Commission co-ordinates with Industry Canada to collect data on the availability of broadband Internet access services to Canadians. The Commission has collaborated with the provincial and territorial governments, as well as other federal government agencies and departments, to identify communities that do not have access to broadband services. The resulting data will assist the federal, provincial and territorial governments in the analysis of the broadband availability performance between urban and rural communities. By combining these data collection initiatives, the reporting burden on the industry is reduced, uniform definitions and methodologies are employed, and the quality of the data presented in this report is enhanced.

The international comparisons and analyses in this report are based on data obtained from reports published by international organizations such as the OECD, and reports or data published by national communications regulators in other countries.

Certain figures published in previous years’ monitoring reports have been restated in this report to better reflect the developments in the markets or industry and allow for a more meaningful comparison. Other figures may have changed as a result of service providers resubmitting previous years’ data. All revised numbers are identified using a number sign (#).

1.2 The CRTC

The CRTC is an administrative tribunal that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems. Its mandate is to ensure that both of these systems serve the Canadian public. The CRTC’s powers and jurisdiction are set out in the Acts. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Governor in Council may issue directions of general application to the Commission on matters related to the telecommunications, broadcasting, or regulatory policy objectives set out in the Acts.

Guided by its legislative mandate, the CRTC’s strategic objective is that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system. This overarching objective is supported by three pillars:

Create

This pillar encompasses those activities that ensure Canadians have access to compelling creative content, from diverse sources, on a variety of platforms. In particular, the CRTC encourages the creation of programming that reflects Canada’s diversity and enables Canadians to participate in their country’s democratic and cultural life.

Connect

The activities under this pillar ensure that Canadians can connect to quality and innovative communication services at affordable prices and have access to creative content. This includes services that facilitate access to the communication system by Canadians with disabilities. By fostering competition, the CRTC strives to provide Canadians with choice that should lead to improved rates and services.

Protect

This pillar addresses the safety and interests of Canadians by promoting compliance with and enforcement of CRTC regulations, including those relating to unsolicited communications. The CRTC also works to ensure that Canadians have access to emergency communication services, such as 911 services and public alerting systems. Increasing the awareness and knowledge of Canadians navigating an increasingly complex communications market helps them to make wise choices in such an environment.

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