Clement pushing to relax foreign telecom rules

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement says allowing more foreign investment in Canada’s telecom sector would ramp up competition and encourage innovation, which would ultimately benefit consumers.

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement says allowing more foreign investment in Canada’s telecom sector would ramp up competition and encourage innovation, which would ultimately benefit consumers.

The minister told an audience at the Canadian Telecom Summit yesterday that he will push forward with changes to telecom regulations this week, first by opening the process to public and industry comment.

“We will be confirming that we are intending to move ahead with telecom reform when it comes to foreign direct investment and the need of having that reform,” Clement said at the conference, held in Toronto.

Clement added he will be releasing a consultation paper on the topic in coming days and will seek feedback from both industry players and consumers.

Clement said he wants large carriers like Rogers and Bell to have access to foreign capital while also providing the means for new entrants and smaller players to meet their capital needs.

The established carriers have called for the regulations to be opened up for every company, no matter their size, while several new entrants want foreign capital open to only companies with less than 10 per cent of the market share.