Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Monopoly vs. Crown Corporation vs. Subsidies

A common point that arises during the "bash Bell Canada" debate (otherwise known as the Net Neutrality debate), is this,

The problem is that Bell didn't build a lot of that infrastructure on their own. It was taxpayer subsidized, and thus rules were in place to require that it be shared for competitive purposes.

My understanding is that Bell was a successful, but heavily regulated, private enterprise. It was not a public Crown Corporation, nor did it appear to be heavily subsidized. The investments that it made in infrastructure in Canada it did out of its own pockets.

Does anyone know (and have proof) of federal or provincial subsidizing of Bell's infrastructure? If found, contrast with the heavy subsidizing of Bombardier or recently of the Auto sector... (by which point I mean just because its subsidized, it doesn't mean that we the taxpayers have rights to the product, otherwise we'd all have new cars and personal planes.)


PeterC said...

Well, looking at the wiki entry, and of course not the corporate sponsored museums which seem to ignore most of this, my read is that Bell or other private companies did phones where it was profitable, typically short distance, heavily populated. The provinces picked up where they stopped and developed a large network that made the phone cheap and a necessity. The private companies then purchased those networks.
I know when I was 10 that the local phone store was government and everyone complained that you could get any phone you wanted so long as it was black.


Catelli said...

Yeah I remember that as part of the quid-pro-quo of government requiring universal access and also regulating customer pricing.

Many of my friends grew up with party phones as they were in hard to service rural areas. Always freaked me out when their phone would ring and no one would answer because it wasn't "their" ring.