CRTC eyes uniform rules for cablers, telecoms

Regulations should conform to market, chairman says

TORONTO -- Canada's TV and phone watchdog on Tuesday called for domestic cable and telecom giants to be governed by one federal act and set of regulations, rather than separately, as is done currently.

Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, told the 2008 Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto that legislation and regulation need to conform to a domestic market in which phone and cable companies now chase each other's customers.

"It's our view that eventually, but inevitably, telecommunications and broadcasting must be governed under one converged act," he argued.

Von Finckenstein said that the CRTC will shortly begin to "harmonize and streamline" its own rules for dueling phone and cable giants, ahead of possible parliamentary reform.

Domestic phone and cable companies are governed by respective federal telecommunications and broadcasting acts as by-products of the fast-disappearing analog world.