AuthorRobert G. Howell
ProfessionProfessor. Faculty of Law University of Victoria British Columbia
Few areas of law and policy have seen change so dramatic and encom-
passing as telecommunications. Historically contained a s an admin-
istrative and regulatory subject of telecommunications (telegraph and
telephone) and broadcasting (radio, television, and cable) under the
encompassing g uidance a nd control of the Canadia n Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), telecommunications
law and policy were, almost overnight, reborn and restructured. Or
perhaps left scattered and unstructured, or “unbund led” — an appro-
priate pun. It was not simply the controlled deregulation from monop-
oly to competition in telephone communications, nor the convergence
of broadcasting and non-broadcasting serv ice providers, that deregula-
tion facilitated. The media have changed and w ith them the regulatory
focused subject area.
Deregulation of both long-distance and local telephone markets has
become so encompassing of competition policy that a now signif‌icantly
economically focused role for the CRTC in this context is challenged by
the Competition Bureau as within its jurisdiction, requiring a relation-
ship to be established between these agencies. By contrast, reg ulation
continues for broadcasting in the traditional media of radio, television,
and cable retr ansmission of signal s of a network origin, together with
direct-to-home (DTH) satellite broadca sts. For the latter, the require-
ment of a signal receiving and decoding device affords a measure of
governmental control. Yet the market share of these tradit ional media
is ch allenged, a nd regulatory capacity diminished, by the new media

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