CRTC Wakes Up To The Need Of Encouraging IP Adoption In Canada

by Gaurav Kheterpal on January 20, 2012

Internet Protocol (IP) backbone is fast emerging as the global standard for wireless and wireline carriers all over the world. Touted as the Next Generation Network (NGN) technology, IP-based networks help phone companies to cut costs, promote innovative new services and offer better network performance for customers.

While phone companies in several developed countries have joined the IP bandwagon in the last few years, a number of phone companies in Canada continue to use the traditional voice circuit-switched technology called Time Division Multiplexing (TDM).

In a wise, although belated decision, the CRTC recently announced a policy to encourage the country’s incumbent telephone companies to adopt Internet Protocol (IP) throughout their networks, putting them on a similar footing with their wireless colleagues.

The regulatory body says that several phone companies have already started the IP transition and the new policy would ensure compliance across the country. Being active proponents of IP communication, we at the TelecomBlog and Digitcom welcome this move – Better late than never!

CRTC says the new policy will play a crucial role in creating a level playing field for phone companies and promoting the development of innovative digital media and telephony services. The policy addresses several key issues such as those related to determining the cost sharing of transferring telephone calls between a wireless and a wireline provider.

“The networks of the future will be primarily based on Internet protocol,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, the soon-to-retire chairman of the CRTC. “We have established basic principles to ensure this technology becomes the industry standard for voice networks as quickly as possible. The industry was able to reach a consensus on many key issues during this proceeding, and we appreciate their commitment.”

For large telephone companies that use IP to transfer telephone calls to either an affiliated or unaffiliated provider, the new policy enforces a restriction to provide a similar arrangement to any other provider that asks for it by negotiating such arrangements within six months of a formal request. Additionally, it will no longer be mandatory for wireless providers will no longer to allow access to alternative long-distance providers since they already offer a variety of plans, thereby offering Canadians the choice of other long-distance options such as prepaid cards and local access numbers.

While wireless and cable companies in Canada have actively pursued IP technology, it’s penetration in the traditional phone segment leaves a lot to be desired. While it sounds wonderful on paper, execution would be a challenge and I, for one, the CRTC can pull it off. After all, Canadians deserve better phone service.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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