COMPAS Poll/Survey
February 14, 2011

CRTC Repudiated by Business Panel over Wind Mobile/Cellular, Internet Usage, and Charles McVety Program Decisions

  BDO Dunwoody Weekly CEO/Business Leader Poll by COMPAS in Canadian Business
Policy and Opinion
Consumer and Lifestyle
Business and Finance

This was the week of CRTC themes. First, an important cellular decision. Wind Mobile had been selling mobile services. The CRTC originally blocked Wind Mobile, saying that it was not truly Canadian controlled. The federal cabinet over-ruled that decision. Then, the courts over-ruled the cabinet, saying that a $ 600 million debt to its overseas minority shareholder gave the minority shareholder effective control of the Canadian firm. 

The CEOs and business leaders on the COMPAS business panel are deeply concerned about what they perceive to be inadequate competition in cellular service. They want more options. In the absence of such options, they give the CRTC, the cabinet, and especially the opposition parties poor performance scores for their attention to cellular policy. The courts earn a slightly higher grade.

Secondly, internet usage policy. The CRTC made a decision to allow usage-based pricing, effectively eliminating unlimited Internet plans. In the wake of the resulting public uproar, the cabinet over-ruled the CRTC and allowed usage-neutral selling to continue. Panelists assign low, failing grades to the CRTC and the opposition parties along with a moderate grade to cabinet. In practice, almost all members of the panel want more competition with advocates of usage-neutral pricing outnumbering 2:1 advocates of usage-based pricing.

Thirdly, in the wake of the banning of Charles McVety’s weekly television program on Christian themes, panelists were asked about the CRTC’s direct power over content through its ability to assign licenses and its indirect power through hundreds of Canadian Broadcast Standards Council censorship decisions. By large margins, panelists oppose any control by the CRTC or the Standards Council of programming targeting adults.

Overall, the opposition parties and the CRTC are the main losers, earning low failing grades for their performance on the above range of issues while cabinet earns a bare passing grade.

These are the key findings from this past week’s Internet survey of CEOs and business leaders on the COMPAS panel. The weekly business survey is undertaken for Canadian Business magazine under sponsorship of BDO Dunwoody LLP.

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