Thursday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
(CRTC) introduced a new policy that will encourage large telephone
companies to rapidly adopt Internet Protocol (IP) throughout their
networks. This shift will promote the development of innovative services
“The networks of the future will be primarily based on Internet Protocol,”
said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “We have
established basic principles to ensure this technology becomes the
industry standard for voice networks as quickly as possible. The industry
was able to reach a consensus on many key issues during this proceeding,
and we appreciate their commitment.”
At the moment, companies are at different stages in their adoption of IP.
Large telephone companies have traditionally relied on voice
circuit-switched technology (known as TDM) to transfer telephone calls to
and from other service providers. Although they are gradually migrating
their networks to IP, large telephone companies continue to rely on the
By comparison, companies that began offering telephone services in the
last few years, such as cable companies and wireless providers, have built
IP-based networks. At present, they are responsible for converting their
IP telephone calls to the older TDM standard.
In areas where a large telephone company uses IP to transfer telephone
calls to either an affiliated or unaffiliated provider, it must provide a
similar arrangement to any other provider that asks for it. The CRTC is
requiring large telephone companies to negotiate such arrangements within
six months of a formal request.
The CRTC has also simplified the rules under which the costs of
transferring telephone calls between a wireless and a wireline provider
are shared. A key point was the different obligations between independent
wireless providers and those that are affiliated with a larger
communications company. Currently, independent providers are responsible
for paying the entire cost unless they allow alternative long-distance
providers access to their networks.
Under the CRTC’s new policy, wireless providers will no longer be required
to give this access to alternative long-distance providers since they
already offer a variety of plans and Canadians can choose from other
long-distance options, such as prepaid cards and local access numbers.
These changes will reduce costs for many wireless providers, particularly
for those that have recently entered the Canadian wireless market, and
level the playing field between independent providers and those that are
affiliated with a larger communications company.
Today’s decision follows a proceeding that included a public hearing that
was held in Gatineau, Que., from October 24 to November 1, 2011.
By the end of the month, the CRTC will have completed a comprehensive
review of its major telecommunications regulations. This exercise was
launched in response to the government’s policy direction to rely as much
as possible on market forces, and today’s decision represents one of the
last steps. During the last five years, the CRTC has deregulated many
segments of the telecommunications market and reduced the scope of
Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2012-24
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-206