Oct 22, 2021
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Foreign control of telecoms to make Canadian communications ‘branch plant’: CRTC

Canada’s federal regulator has come out strongly against foreign control of the country’s telecom sector, saying doing so risks turning Canada’s communications industry into a “branch plant.”

CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that foreigners should be restricted to a maximum 49% of controlling shares in any telecommunications firm.

“The control of the communications sector should stay in Canadian hands,” he said.

“If you don’t do this… we will have a branch plant communications industry.”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission head was testifying on a proposal in last month’s throne speech that would see the government “open Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment” in “satellite and telecommunications industries.”

Currently, Ottawa limits direct and indirect foreign ownership to 46.7%, and requires that voting control remain in Canadian hands. Von Finckenstein said it would be acceptable to increase that to 49%.

In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Industry Minister Tony Clement said he wants to have consultations because of the complexity of the issues involved, particularly since the country’s leading telecoms, such as Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, also own broadcast media.

Clement stressed there is no intention to change the rules governing broadcasters, which are regarded as a cultural industry.

“There’s been no change in our broadcast policy in terms of Canadian content and Canadian rules, but we’re signalling a change in the telecom side,” he said.

In Tuesday’s testimony, von Finckenstein essentially said there is no way to separate telecoms from broadcasters.

Not only do some Canadian companies operate both as telecoms and broadcasters, but new media allows programs to be viewed on the Internet or hand-held devices, and to be interactive.

He said distinctions between the so-called pipeline and content may have made sense in the past, but they no longer apply. And with the advent of new media, he said the ability of the CRTC to regulate is diminishing.

For instance, the Internet is not regulated and most programs carried on television can also be viewed through Canadians’ computers.

As a result, von Finckenstein said, it was important that “the controlling minds are Canadian” in both sectors.

The best way of moving forward, he said, was to create uniform rules that would apply to both industries, and to keep control firmly in Canadian hands.

Source: The Canadian Press

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Headline, Industry News

Foreign control of telecoms to make Canadian communications ‘branch plant’: CRTC

Canada’s federal regulator has come out strongly against foreign control of the country’s telecom sector, saying doing so risks turning Canada’s communications industry into a “branch plant.”

CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that foreigners should be restricted to a maximum 49% of controlling shares in any telecommunications firm.

“The control of the communications sector should stay in Canadian hands,” he said.

“If you don’t do this… we will have a branch plant communications industry.”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission head was testifying on a proposal in last month’s throne speech that would see the government “open Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment” in “satellite and telecommunications industries.”

Currently, Ottawa limits direct and indirect foreign ownership to 46.7%, and requires that voting control remain in Canadian hands. Von Finckenstein said it would be acceptable to increase that to 49%.

In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Industry Minister Tony Clement said he wants to have consultations because of the complexity of the issues involved, particularly since the country’s leading telecoms, such as Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, also own broadcast media.

Clement stressed there is no intention to change the rules governing broadcasters, which are regarded as a cultural industry.

“There’s been no change in our broadcast policy in terms of Canadian content and Canadian rules, but we’re signalling a change in the telecom side,” he said.

In Tuesday’s testimony, von Finckenstein essentially said there is no way to separate telecoms from broadcasters.

Not only do some Canadian companies operate both as telecoms and broadcasters, but new media allows programs to be viewed on the Internet or hand-held devices, and to be interactive.

He said distinctions between the so-called pipeline and content may have made sense in the past, but they no longer apply. And with the advent of new media, he said the ability of the CRTC to regulate is diminishing.

For instance, the Internet is not regulated and most programs carried on television can also be viewed through Canadians’ computers.

As a result, von Finckenstein said, it was important that “the controlling minds are Canadian” in both sectors.

The best way of moving forward, he said, was to create uniform rules that would apply to both industries, and to keep control firmly in Canadian hands.

Source: The Canadian Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Foreign control of telecoms to make Canadian communications ‘branch plant’: CRTC

Canada’s federal regulator has come out strongly against foreign control of the country’s telecom sector, saying doing so risks turning Canada’s communications industry into a “branch plant.”

CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that foreigners should be restricted to a maximum 49% of controlling shares in any telecommunications firm.

“The control of the communications sector should stay in Canadian hands,” he said.

“If you don’t do this… we will have a branch plant communications industry.”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission head was testifying on a proposal in last month’s throne speech that would see the government “open Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment” in “satellite and telecommunications industries.”

Currently, Ottawa limits direct and indirect foreign ownership to 46.7%, and requires that voting control remain in Canadian hands. Von Finckenstein said it would be acceptable to increase that to 49%.

In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Industry Minister Tony Clement said he wants to have consultations because of the complexity of the issues involved, particularly since the country’s leading telecoms, such as Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, also own broadcast media.

Clement stressed there is no intention to change the rules governing broadcasters, which are regarded as a cultural industry.

“There’s been no change in our broadcast policy in terms of Canadian content and Canadian rules, but we’re signalling a change in the telecom side,” he said.

In Tuesday’s testimony, von Finckenstein essentially said there is no way to separate telecoms from broadcasters.

Not only do some Canadian companies operate both as telecoms and broadcasters, but new media allows programs to be viewed on the Internet or hand-held devices, and to be interactive.

He said distinctions between the so-called pipeline and content may have made sense in the past, but they no longer apply. And with the advent of new media, he said the ability of the CRTC to regulate is diminishing.

For instance, the Internet is not regulated and most programs carried on television can also be viewed through Canadians’ computers.

As a result, von Finckenstein said, it was important that “the controlling minds are Canadian” in both sectors.

The best way of moving forward, he said, was to create uniform rules that would apply to both industries, and to keep control firmly in Canadian hands.

Source: The Canadian Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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