Communications Monitoring Report 2014: Introduction

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1.0 Introduction

The CRTC has been issuing annual monitoring reports on Canada’s communications system since the late 1990s.

The CRTC’s Communications Monitoring Report provides a window on communications market sectors and their role in the lives of Canadians. Over time, the report has evolved to follow market developments, technological changes, and consumer needs. It is intended to foster an open, well-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 report change over time to take into account regulatory and market developments such as new technologies, changes in market structure and in domestic or international regulations and agreements, and the introduction of new or evolving services. These changes help ensure that the CRTC Communications Monitoring Report continues to be a useful tool for all Canadians.

What’s new in this report

The organization of the report has been revised to make it more reader-friendly and to make each section more comprehensive. Changes include the following:

  1. The prices of basic local telephone, broadband Internet access, wireless mobile, and broadcasting distribution undertaking (BDU) services, in both urban and rural centres, have been added to show the effects of competition on service prices.
  2. Statistics on access to communications services by official language minority communities have been added to this year’s report.
  3. Data regarding expenditures on Programs of National Interest have been expanded. Expenditures by group-based licensees have been included in the television market section.
  4. Each graph now displays the values to produce the graph.
  5. Blue text boxes have been added below the tables, graphs, and charts to explain the data displayed.
  6. Grey text boxes have been added where appropriate to provide definitions or descriptions of methodologies used to produce the data.
  7. Statistics on the volume and nature of complaints and contacts have been moved to the appropriate market sector sections, for ease of access.
  8. Data contained in last year’s section entitled “Broadband availability and adoption of digital technologies” have been relocated to provide a more holistic view of the Internet market as follows:
    1. broadband availability data now appear in the Internet market sector section; and
    2. data on digital technologies have been relocated to the appropriate broadcasting market sector sections.
  9. The telecommunications section has been reorganized to present the retail and wholesale market sector details separately. This realignment more clearly presents information for and about Canadians as consumers and provides a more focused look at the wholesale market sector.

These changes have been introduced to provide Canadians with financial, pricing, and other key indicators and trends to enhance their participation in Commission proceedings. Consumption statistics, such as pricing, service penetration, and complaints, are presented for matters that have a direct impact on Canadians.

1.1 Methodology / Data collection

This report is based on (1) the responses from broadcasting and telecommunications undertakings to the CRTC’s annual surveys, 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, Numeris, and BBM Analytics’ Media Technology Monitor (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 coordinates 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 analyzing the broadband availability performance in both urban and rural communities. Combining these data collection initiatives enables the reporting burden on the industry to be reduced, uniform definitions and methodologies to be employed, and the quality of the data presented in this report to be enhanced.

The international comparisons and analyses presented in this report are based on data obtained from reports published by international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (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 year’s report to better reflect the developments in the markets or industry and to 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 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulates and supervises Canada’s communication system in accordance with the mandate entrusted to it by Parliament, including achieving the policy objectives established in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act and Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and delivers its mandate from offices in the National Capital Region and regional offices throughout Canada with participation from both National and Regional Commissioners.

Guided by its legislative mandate, the CRTC is committed to its strategic objective of ensuring that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system. This overarching objective is supported by three pillars: Create, Connect, and Protect.

Create

The CRTC contributes to a broadcasting system that provides Canadians with a wealth of compelling and diverse content. The creation of diverse programming, from diverse sources, that reflects the attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity of Canadians enables their participation in their country’s democratic and cultural life.

Connect

The CRTC contributes to a communications system that provides Canadians, including those with disabilities, quality and affordable communication service options. The communications system strengthens the social and economic fabric of Canada, and enables Canadians to have access to compelling and diverse Canadian content on a variety of platforms.

Protect

The CRTC contributes to the protection and safety of Canadians within the communication system. By promoting and enforcing compliance with legislation and regulatory measures, the CRTC strengthens the participation of communications service providers in offering safety-enhancing and emergency services to Canadians, and seeks to reduce unsolicited commercial communication messages.

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