Canada’s Champagne unveils CRTC direction as Rogers-Shaw deal nears final nod

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FILE PHOTO: Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 25, 2022.

Feb 13 – Canadian Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said on Monday the country’s broadcast and telecommunications regulator would focus on improving competition, affordability and consumer rights as part of a new policy direction.

The Canadian government will make a decision on the fate of Rogers Communications Inc’s (RCIb.TO) bid to buy Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO) for a C$20 billion ($15.00 billion), a merger that would create the country’s no. 2 telecoms operator.

Other objectives in the policy direction to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included speeding up new infrastructure for better consumer access and improving service reliability, said Champagne, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Canada has some of the highest wireless bills in the world for consumers, and Rogers last year suffered a 19-hour service outage that cut off banking, transport and government access for millions of people.

Champagne has previously indicated support for the Rogers-Shaw deal if certain conditions were met. In January, the companies cleared a major hurdle after the Canada Competition Bureau dropped plans to oppose the deal following two defeats in courts.

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