Sorry, you're just not Canadian enough...
The CRTC earlier this year couldn't be bothered to come to the defense of independent ISPs facing extinction due to Bell Canada's sudden throttling efforts
, but the regulatory agency amazingly came alive this week to stop the entry of a new wireless phone competitor in Canada. A CRTC ruling has banned
Globalive, a new entrant into the Canadian market, from doing business in Canada. Why? because it's 61% owned by Orascom
, a telecom company that does ample business in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South Asia.
Canadian regulation, lobbied for by incumbent companies, prohibits any telecom networks that aren't majority-Canadian owned. The entry of WIND would be the first major threat to Bell Canada, Telus and Rogers in more than a decade, so the companies lobbied the CRTC extensively to investigate and ban Wind's market entry. Wind Mobile has issued a press release
saying that the ruling's odd, given another Canadian agency had already given them the green light, they were already allowed to purchase spectrum
, and they were well into the process of employing 500 people and setting up operations:
In its decision, the CRTC came to a different conclusion than Industry Canada and has indicated that Globalive Wireless is not in compliance with the Canadian ownership and control requirements set out in the Telecommunications Act..."We will be evaluating our options on how to proceed," says Ken Campbell, CEO of WIND Mobile.
Canadian Law Professor Michael Geist blames the entire affair on outdated pseudo-patriotic regulation
, being a bit too kind to the CRTC (stocked with phone industry executives) and Canada's incumbent phone giants (who lobbied for the original restrictions and initiated the investigation in the first place). Mike Masnick at Techdirt
gets to the point, noting how such pseudo-patriotic moves are usually just another form of protectionism that ultimately winds up crippling competition and harming consumers, be it in the U.S., Canada, or Tajikistan.