Cogeco Câble inc.
TSX : CCA

March 23, 2006 23:59 ET

Cogeco Cable statement about Telecom Policy Report: Interesting avenues that need to be further developed

MONTREAL, March 23 - Cogeco Cable welcomes the review process now underway for the telecommunications regulatory framework and believes that the Report tabled yesterday by the Policy Review Panel on the subject is an important first step in this process, which has become necessary due to rapid change in technology and markets. The Report leaves however several key elements still to be defined or further developed. In an environment of convergence and bundling of all types of communications services, this review process must be extended to the broadcasting sector, as acknowledged in the Afterword of the Report.

"The Report of the Policy Review Panel is thought-provoking. However, it does not provide the assurance that all sectors of the information and communications technologies, in terms of both the means of communication and
access to the full range of content and services, will be equally made subject to market forces according to the demands of Canadian consumers," said Yves Mayrand, Vice President, Corporate Affairs of Cogeco Cable. He added that "For us, it is fundamentally important that market forces and the reduction of government interference should extend not only to traditional telecommunications services such as telephony but also to the full range of
services offered by wireline and wireless networks."

The Report contains several useful recommendations, including:

- The reduction of government and regulatory interference to the fullest
extent possible;

- The elimination of political appeals to the Federal Cabinet concerning
individual CRTC decisions, which is presently being solicited by
incumbent telephone companies to have important CRTC decisions
reversed; and

- Appeals before the Federal Court of Appeal of CRTC decisions without
prior leave, which will promote primacy of law and the quality of
decisions made by the regulatory body.

For Cogeco Cable, the avenues for thought initiated by the Policy Review Panel, once they are further developed and circumscribed, could give rise to a truly competitive industry capable of responding efficiently to all the
communications needs of Canadian consumers for their greater benefit.

It is essential however that key concepts such as "significant market power", "anti-competitive conduct", "guidelines for market definition" and "essential facilities" be clearly defined in order to evaluate the real nature and extent of the proposals made in the Report.

Also, Cogeco Cable is not convinced that it is necessary to establish several new regulatory bodies as proposed in the Report, including a new Telecommunications Competition Tribunal. Whatever the structure involved in
ensuring an orderly transition to full-fledged competition, it is paramount that this transition be supervised with care and vigilance so as to ensure that sustainable competition between service suppliers will take hold in all relevant markets in the best interest of Canadian consumers. Furthermore, it is necessary to ensure that prejudicial positions involving significant market power will not be maintained or reestablished in these markets following the transition period. Clear criteria and their timely enforcement will be required to curb quickly abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive ractices.

ABOUT COGECO CABLE

Cogeco Cable (www.cogeco.ca) is the second largest cable operator in both Ontario and Québec, and ranks fourth in Canada in terms of the number of basic service customers served. To provide growing profitability to its shareholders and to satisfy its customers' varied electronic communication needs, Cogeco Cable delivers a wide range of services at attractive prices with great speed and reliability, invests in state-of-the-art broadband network facilities, and strives to provide superior customer care. Through its two-way broadband cable
infrastructure, Cogeco Cable provides its residential and commercial customers with analogue and digital video and audio services, high-speed Internet access as well as digital telephony service. The Corporation provides about
1,409,000 revenue-generating units to approximately 1,454,000 households in its service territory. Cogeco Cable's subordinate voting shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (CCA.SV).

Contact Information

  • Marie Carrier, Director, Corporate
    Communications, (514) 874-2600