National Newswatch

Get Everyone Online

May 25 2022 — Mark Goldberg — Often, it can be a challenge to define a problem without specifying a solution. In many cases, we find it easier to think in terms of familiar solutions. Unfortunately, at a minimum, doing so limits the degrees of freedom for developing more creative solutions; or indeed, it could result in not solving the root problem, […]

Which CRTC Decision Is The Outlier?

Jun 22 2021 — Mark Goldberg — As I have described before, “When I studied statistics, we were told to look for “outliers” – results that appeared to be inconsistent with the rest of the data. If an observation is a potential outlier, you begin an analysis to determine whether a cause can be identified for the spurious result.” There has been a […]

Missing The Point

Jun 4 2021 — Mark Goldberg — I was struck by yesterday’s editorial in the Globe and Mail  (“Two years ago, Ottawa aimed to lower the high price of wireless and internet. Not any more”). It seemed to get many of the background facts right, but somehow didn’t follow its own logic to reach its conclusion. Let’s look at their own words: […]

Margin of error

Aug 24 2020 — Mark Goldberg — Is costing more of a subjective art, or is it an objective science? A recent opinion piece by former CRTC vice-chair Peter Menzies in the Financial Post says “It [The CRTC] has a cost accounting process that is supposed to be objective and provide certainty for an industry on which, as COVID-19 has made starkly clear, Canadians […]

An insatiable need for spectrum

Aug 12 2020 — Mark Goldberg — The past 6 months have witnessed an unprecedented shift in the consumption of digital connectivity by Canadians whose lives and livelihoods have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Communications services providers have rapidly reconfigured their networks to accommodate the shifts in daytime traffic patterns from business centres to residential neighbourhoods; telecom carriers have extended the […]

Rural broadband will never be as fast as urban

May 4 2020 — Mark Goldberg — With most of the world self-isolating at home due to COVID-19, much is being written about digital connectivity – the haves and have-nots. Indeed, it has been the focus of much of my writing over the past 6 weeks. Regular followers know that finding solutions for the digital divides – rural access as well as […]

Moving the goalposts

Mar 5 2020 — Mark Goldberg — Despite mobile industry prices that have fallen more than 30% over the course of the past summer, Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains is looking for further reductions of another 25%, warning “If these targets are not met within two years, the Government will take action with other regulatory tools to further increase competition and help reduce prices.” […]

Declare victory. Consumers are winning

Mar 5 2020 — Mark Goldberg — Mobile prices have fallen more than 25% over the past year, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s “2019 Price Comparisons of Wireline, Wireless and Internet Services in Canada and with Foreign Jurisdictions” [pdf, 2.1MB], the 12th annual edition of the report. The report is dated November 7, 2019, which means the work product has been […]

Let’s talk seriously about affordable wireless

Feb 10 2020 — Mark Goldberg — Let me be very clear: Just because local prices may be higher than in other places, doesn’t mean a particular good or service is unaffordable at home. There are lots of things for which Canadians pay more than our peers to the south, or other countries. An awful lot of things. Some are basic needs, […]

Canadian mobile services top G7 affordability ranking

Jan 23 2020 — Mark Goldberg — Contradicting the popular narrative, a recent set of reports from PwC Canada puts Canadian unlimited mobile wireless plans atop affordability rankings among the G7 countries plus Australia. In December, PwC released “Understanding wireless affordability in Canada” [pdf, 4MB] and earlier this week, it released an addendum, “Impact of unlimited data plans on affordability” [pdf, 1.6MB]. According to the reports, […]

Paying for spectrum policy

Jan 20 2020 — Mark Goldberg — In an article in the Financial Post this past Friday, an economist calculates that Canadians’ mobile bills include a hidden tax of 12-16% to cover the fees paid by carriers to the government for spectrum. Robert Crandall calculates the spectrum fees paid by Canadian carriers to be 4 times what European carriers are paying, adding more than […]

Isn’t some kind of broadband better than nothing?

Oct 19 2018 — Mark Goldberg — Isn’t some kind of broadband better than nothing? The CRTC thinks so. And I agree. When the Commission released its plans for its $750M Broadband Development Fund earlier this fall, it decided that it would accept applications to provide broadband service at download speeds of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and 5 Mbps up, despite […]

Why Doug Ford may govern more as a moderate than a ‘radical conservative’

Mar 17 2018 — Mark Goldberg — As Doug Ford was declared the new leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, critics and political opponents wasted no time portraying the new party chief as a radical, hard-right conservative who poses a threat to civil liberties and women’s rights. A statement by the Ontario Liberal Party declared that Ford’s win signalled the Tories […]

Quality, coverage and affordable prices

Oct 14 2017 — Mark Goldberg — In their letter of welcome to new CRTC Chair Ian Scott, Ministers Melanie Joly and Navdeep Bains wrote that the government’s objectives are to improve the quality, coverage and price of telecommunications services. This echoed remarks from Minister Bains earlier this year at The Canadian Telecom Summit. There is a difficult tension in these objectives, seeking increased investment while […]