Better Broadband in Canada: Sean Speer on The Exchange

Macdonald-Laurier Institute

Canada should not follow Europe’s lead when it comes to developing broadband infrastructure, argue Andrea Renda and Sean Spear on The Exchange.  Canada has historically encouraged firms to compete based on the quality and scope of their respective networks. However, in recent years Canadian policy has shifted in Europe’s direction.  The risk is that Canada turns its relative strength into a weakness, undermining broader economic objectives such as innovation, digital adoption and entrepreneurship.

As argued in an article in the Financial Post recently, by Emily Jackson, it would be a mistake for the Trudeau administration to follow the previous administration’s recommendations. The federal government hasn’t spelled out its telecom policy, but earlier this year the Liberals upheld a Conservative decision to mandate access to fiber networks despite a legal challenge from BCE Inc.

Blacklock’s Reporter has also mentioned MLI’s recent article, reaffirming that incentives matter. By removing the incentives for innovation we should be surprised when companies decide to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Mark Goldberg makes a similar argument in Telecom Trends, noting that lack of incentives to push for further develops will eventually result in a decrease in infrastructure quality. This will eventually become obvious to consumers even if the prices become a little more accessible.