Market Forces Should Drive Telecommunications Development in Canada, Says Industry Survey
October 25, 2005

Ottawa, October 25, 2005 -- Respondents to a survey conducted by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance regarding the federal government's Telecom Policy Review for new regulatory policies, have strongly urged the government to allow market forces to take the lead in encouraging adoption of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). Providing better tax credits and becoming a model user of ICT were also highly recommended steps that government could take to encourage industry growth.

"The survey is part of a six-month advocacy campaign by CATA to encourage the adoption of advanced telecommunications and information technologies," says John Reid, President, CATAAlliance.

The survey was undertaken as an open online poll of the general membership of CATAAlliance, and is not intended to represent the consolidated views of the telecommunications industry in Canada. Highlights of the survey will be input to the Telecom Policy Review Consultation Forum underway in Ottawa on October 24-26th.

CATAAlliance is Canada's largest advanced technology association, linking more than 22,000 executives in the high-tech sector. CATAAlliance includes many divisions with interests in the telecommunications sector, including the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP).

Key Findings Provide Guidance for Future Telecom Policies

On the importance of communications as a key infrastructure tool for business, an overwhelming majority of respondents felt that there is a direct connection between ICT investment and improved productivity.

Regarding the financing of new infrastructure, the private sector did not feel that a continuing government presence in the rollout of broadband posed a threat to investments. Respondents specifically advised the government to focus more on investment in the 'last mile' of service delivery, to avoid duplicating existing networks, and to partner with the private sector where the economics did not justify stand-alone private sector investments.

Broadband penetration is still considered an issue by respondents, who were in clear agreement that the solution would involve the inclusion of broadband rollout in federal infrastructure projects such as road and bridge construction. Tax subsidy mechanisms were also strongly supported.

The vast majority of those providing open recommendations advised the government to modernize the regulatory regimen to provide less regulation; many even called for a completely deregulated environment that would allow for greater competition and more consumer choice. The abolition of the CRTC was often suggested, in favour of a 'competition bureau' approach.

Looking ahead five years, the respondents were confident of the following trends:

  • An increase in the speed and capacity of broadband services;
  • Higher penetration of wireless services;
  • The continuing growth of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP); and
  • Greater convergence between cable and telecommunications companies' products and services.

Complimenting the survey results are three case studies CATA completed with funding from Bell Canada that convey the experience and success three different Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have encountered through the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These case studies demonstrate how communication and connectivity solutions delivered concrete benefits to them. The firms studied were Viewtrak Technologies Inc., UseMyBank, and Stages & Stores.

The Viewtrak study demonstrates how, through the power of communications technology, a traditionally commodity-centric marketplace has been able to come together to meet the challenges of a post-BSE marketplace.

As detailed in the UseMyBank study, readers learn how the firm drove the creation of an online Direct Debit payment system when it was previously not available from any Canada organization. UseMyBank spent three years developing proprietary tools, and working with key vendors to facilitate an online payment system that would meet the stringent security requirements of the banking industry.

In the Stages & Stores study, readers will discover how, through the power of ICT, the company brings the finest of Newfoundland and Labrador heritage to a modern world and how sales help provide funds to preserve and restore the local historical fisheries buildings of one of the last picturesque Newfoundland outport fishing communities.

ACTION ITEM:
For a copy of the survey results and case studies about ICT adoption, CATAAlliance members can contact cmalette@cata.ca

For further information please contact:
Joanne Stanley
Vice President, CATAAlliance
(613) 236-6550 ext. 223