CWTA tells panel review MVNOs would hurt investment, rural access

Originally published by The Wire Report

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) took aim at mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in its submission to the ongoing review of Canada’s communications legislation.

“While mandating access to facilities-based carriers’ networks would negatively impact investment by all facilities-based carriers, investment by new entrants and regional providers will be particularly impacted,” the wireless industry group said.

It said that effect would be “particularly felt by Canadians in rural and remote areas where the economics of network deployment are already challenging, and where new entrants have played a role in helping to connect Canadians.”

Submissions to the review were due Jan. 11, though the government-appointed panel does not plan to publish them until June, when its interim report is due. A partially-redacted list obtained by The Wire Report through an Access to Information request shows the panel received at least 156 written submissions from various companies, organizations and groups. Many of those parties have been making their submissions public on their own since January.

The CWTA published its submission shortly after the CRTC reversed its long-held position that MVNO’s aren’t entitled to wholesale access to wireless providers’ networks, in a move that was welcomed by some potential new MVNO entrants.

The rest of the CWTA’s submission echoed many of the points individual telecoms and the industry have previously made, including calling for the CRTC to have authority to set rates and settle disputes over access to electrical utility poles and ducts and potentially other passive infrastructure, and arguing that additional net neutrality provisions in the telecom act aren’t necessary.

The wireless industry group also said there is no need to add any new security requirements on telecoms to the law.

“We are not aware of any evidence that Canada’s wireless industry is not acting responsibly with respect to the security of Canada’s wireless network infrastructure, or that there is the need to amend the Telecommunications Act to add provisions dealing with security,” it said.

The review of the telecom and broadcasting acts is taking place at the same time as the government is deciding whether to ban Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. equipment from Canada’s 5G networks over security concerns. Huawei did not submit anything to the review.

The CWTA also argued oversight over telecoms and privacy issues should be handed over entirely to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, instead of having responsibility for telecoms’ privacy practices shared between the CRTC and the privacy commissioner.

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