Bringing the Benefits of Competition to Canadians
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 7 Nov 1996, p. 184-196
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Bringing the Benefits of Competition to Canadians

An exciting time to be in the Canadian telecommunications business. Some comments about AT&T Canada Long Distance Services and its role in fostering competition in this country. A discussion follows under this heading: "Competition: Who Needs It?" The Canadian telecommunications markets. Who needs competition and why. Telecommunications technology as one of the single most powerful enablers of free enterprise, yet it's an industry that has been shaped by more than a century of monopoly, regulation, and cross subsidy. A look at that monopoly and how it benefitted us in the past. Global competition moving us toward "democratic capitalism," and a period in our social and economic development where companies don't dictate customer needs: they respond to customer demand. Bringing the benefits of competition to Canadians. Achievements of Canada's communications monopoly, but a weak record of innovation and high prices. The question to be asked: When does fair and effective competition, the kind of competition that brings the greatest number of benefits to us and to Canada occur? The speaker's statement that this kind of competition is not here yet. An examination of exactly what it is we do have. Some figures to show how Bell and the Stentor group of monopoly local telephone companies are doing. CRTC regulation of the market. Two key preconditions to be met before the CRTC can turn away from regulating the market: the first in the whole area of subsidies, and second in the removal of remaining barriers that flow from the Stentor companies' control of the local network. An illustrative example of the problem with reference to calling cards. Some conclusions. Improvements that the consumer will see over the next few years if the regulatory transition is managed wisely and pragmatically. What needs to be done to ensure that this happens.