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Communication plays a pivotal role in every modern society, in the world today. Telecommunications encompass telegraphy, telephony, HF and meter burst communications, TV and satellite communications. This paper analyzes telecommunications in the current policy community, in Canada.
The Canadian geography, political organization and population distribution have always needed reliable and effective communication systems. The population in Canada spreads across six thousand kilometers from sea to sea and on to another sea. Communications acts as the key factor that brings the country together in all spheres of life. Canada possesses an excellent communications. In fact, it has a rating of having one of the highest levels of universal telephone services. Canadian communication systems encompass satellite communications, optic fiber networks, cellular telephony, cable TV, national data networks, and a virtual internet access (Napoli, Philip and Minna 38).
Telecommunications has always had a significant role, in Canadian affairs. Because of that, telecommunications became the subject of government support and continuous study. Since the time when the domestic satellite system came in to existence, telecommunications became the front and centre of scientific and industrial policies. The current policy of the government, in Canada for making the country the most connected, in the whole world became the most significant plan that the country engaged. Telecommunications sector became one of the most essential industries, in Canada.
Canada has consistently contributed towards the betterment of the telecommunications sector. The first trans-Atlantic radio transmission by Marconi happened in Newfoundland. The concept of telephony services came into existence through the initiative of Alexander graham bell, at the home of his parents, in Brantford, Ontario. Canada had the first commercial telephone system. The first commercial meteor-burst communication system known as JANET originated from Canada. It also had the first digital data network that covered the entire country. Canada has a greater access to cable television network than any other nation, in the whole world.
While the old telecommunications regime characterized of regulated monopoly firms and distinct separation of services, technologies and regulations, the new policy regime exists with a lampoon of convergences within sectors, services and technologies. The result that comes out of this becomes globalization. Globalization occurs in a neo-liberal and an anti-regulatory surrounding, which does give attention to certain issues, such as, access, social justice and equity among other significant factors.
The Canadian telecommunication services also face a corporate dominated media space and editorial indifference, hostility and other ill telecommunications governance. Regulatory and funding support for Canadian broadcasting communications has whittled down. The board, management and programming have abandoned the principles of public broadcasting. Community broadcasting, which acts as one of the formal three pillars of broadcasting system, struggles with limited resources and funding. On-gain and off-gain federal copyright legislation threatens to restrict users from practicing the right of fair deals.
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In the modern day policies governing the telecommunications sector, in Canada promote digital divides, based on geography, ability, age, class, gender, and ethnicity. The public policy established to help offset these issues that divide people and put them under certain groupings do not have the attention they require. The inequalities come about because of capitalism and the support given to new media content. These aspects and misdoings violates the principles of network neutrality and threaten to create an increase in tiered internet, where internet providers who can afford extra resources and funds get first-lane access, to internet provision, while the other providers get second-lane internet provision. This means that the current policy guidelines favor the rich, in the society providing them with better services. On the other hand, the poor get limited and inefficient services because they cannot afford or raise extra cash that can help them get an access to better services.
The policy community involved in information highway databases, in Canada includes stakeholders, such as, the main telecommunication and industry groups, which includes stentor, information technology association of Canada, ITAC, Canadian advanced technology alliance, government entities and a wide public interest groupings. The public interests groups comprised of formed associations like public interest advocacy centre and groups newly formed, for instance, coalition for public information and alliance for a connected Canada. These public interest groups influenced the policymaking process.
The alarming problem that involves the report of the consultative committee on the implications of telecommunications for the Canadian sovereignty involves the fact that the government scientists and bureaucrats, academics and representatives of high technology private industries lacked input in the process. The problem does not arise because the government has no contributed to the telecommunications policy, at all. The problem arises because the input that the government contributed to the process proved disjointed, uncoordinated and inconsistent. This means that this problem may make Canada lose a great deal of control on its own destiny. This may result to calamitous action as an industrial nation (Ward 23).
In order to understand this problem, any observer must familiarize with the subject matter concerning this issue. Lack of knowledge has made many Canadians fail to understand that this crisis exists. This has led to the general question, where people wonder what makes telecommunications and informatics.
According to the list of proposed telecommunications acts, telecommunication refers to any transmission, emission or reception of signs and signals, writing, images, intelligence or sound of am nature through radio, space, wire or any other technical system. Most Canadians do not understand the key role that Canada has played, in technological revolution. Due to natural geographic and demographic realities, the scientists from Canada saw the benefits of space-aided communications.
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The Canadian telecommunications ledger provided another problem, which involves an issue to do with cultural sovereignty. This presented a multifaceted problem. A massive flow of Canadian information across the border for storage, in American data banks acted as one of the problems. This resulted to serious economic issues. However, the cultural implications became more serious. Some of the problems that came, as a result of that included reduced Canadian control of foreign companies that operated, in the country, invasions of private personal information of Canadian citizens, crime related to computers, dependence on foreign computer documents, risk of publishing information private to the Canadian government and largely undermining the Canadian telecommunication systems.
For people to understand the problems brought in, by the telecommunication policies, one must break that concept into two parts. The first part involves policy of control, which encompasses jurisdictional issues and regulation. The second part involves the issue of science policy administration, the funding of R&D, and the industrial incentive legislation. The first policy relates, more closely, to the issue of Canadian cultural sovereignty. The second policy presents implications for the economic wellbeing of the economy of Canada. Despite this, the second policy problem contributes to the cultural impact, but in a secondary way.
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The problem requires government action because of several reasons. First, the government should act because the problem affects people, in the whole nation. It does not divide the country in two parts. The issue affects the country as a whole. Therefore, the government has the responsibility to make things right because of accountability reasons. Secondly, the problem arose because of the fact that the government did not engage in the policy making process, as expected. The government would have closed the loopholes to ensure that the problem would not occur. It could have used experts to come up with measures that could help it prevent the issue.
Thirdly, the government has the responsibility to solve the problem because the situation poses a threat, not only to the privacy of personal information of the Canadian citizens, but also to the privacy of the information that only the Canadian government should know. The last reason regarding why the government should take action involves mitigation measures. The government has the responsibility to provide mitigation measures to significant sectors that offer economic advantages, to the country. The government has the responsibility to make sure that the telecommunications sector remains viable because it contributes to the success of the Canadian economy (Raboy 220).
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The problem presented reflects a federal as opposed to a provincial problem. This fact exists because policy formulation exercises happen in the government as opposed to the provincial level. The government had the responsibility of taking up the policy formulation exercise, both at the national and provincial level. The federal arm had the responsibility of providing a leading role, in the policy formulation exercise. Therefore, the problem originated from the federal and not the provincial part of the Canadian government.
The problem emerged in 1970s. This happened because the government did not pay close attention to the issue of telecommunications advancements. The government provided a partial support to the development of telecommunications, in Canada. The sectors responsible for developing the telecommunications sector, in Canada left the issue to private developers. It did not pay attention to exploiting the industrial revolution, in the nineteenth century. The rich countries, in the future will include those that exploit the information revolution to the best of their advantage. Therefore, Canada concentrated in developing the telecommunications sector without putting relevant policies and strategies in place. The public suffered more because they lacked information that could help them understand what went on in the telecommunications sector (Moore, Michael and William 415).
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The problem has come to the attention of policy makers through a number of ways. First, research centers, such as the communications research centre Canada, intellectuals and other research bodies engaged in researches that brought out the problems. The researchers showed where the problems existed, how they came about, their causes and the effects they posed, to the telecommunications sector and the Canadian nation, at large. Secondly, the problem came to the attention of policy makes through implementation. Through implementation of the telecommunication policies and the operation of the telecommunication sector, within the Canadian nation and outside Canada reflected the shortcomings of the policies. The results that came out of implementing these policies showed the policy makers the shortfalls in those policies.
The actors that form the policy community include government bodies, the parliament, public interest groups and major telecom and industry groups. The goals and interests of the key actors reflect a certain form of similarity. The goals of the actors all reflect that the policies of the country regarding the telecommunications sector should promote better service. The aim of the key actors, to promote quality services encompass the fact that formulating proper and relevant policies, in the telecommunications sector should be of utmost importance.
The government and parliament engages in policy formulation and implementation strategies, the public interest groups work to ensure that the government comes up with policies that reflect the needs of the entire public. They also engage in practices, such as research, to ascertain that the policies implemented by the government serve the telecommunication needs of the public. In so doing, the government ensures that it implements those policies that help the public meet their needs, while ensuring that the government benefits from the advantages of the formulated policies. When all these actors do this, they ensure that the telecommunications sector runs, in a better, advantageous and effective manner (Howley 408).
As explained earlier, the policy makers advocate for similar and different goals and different means to achieve these goals. For instance, public interest groups advocate for policies that respond to the needs of the Canadian population. The government and parliament advocate for policies that respond to the needs of effective governance, political and economic interest. Despite the difference, they all advocate for effective policies that would respond to the needs of the entire country. However, the public interest groups do not engage in policy formulation directly, as the government and parliament do.
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Instead, the public interest groups perform the checks and balance duties that ensure that the government formulates and implements policies relevant to the needs of the country. The government and the parliament, on the other hand, perform a more direct role towards the formulation and implementation of policies. The two stakeholders engage in active processes of formulation and implementation of policies. Over time, the development of policies has characterized engagements by the government and parliament (Thissen, Wil and Paulien Minke 86).
The policy formulation and review happens though the Canadian radio-television and telecommunications commission. The government takes responsibility for the formulation of the commission. The commission engages in research that entails finding relevant information that should matter, in the policy formulation process. After this, the commission engages in meetings that offer them a chance to discuss and come up with relevant policies. The policies pas though approval sessions before being implemented.
The policies have specific objectives. These objectives entail the fact that the policies should respond to the needs of the society. The policies should preserve the privacy of personal and governmental information. The policies should provide an environment that allows the public access information that they need. Certain instruments exist, to ensure that the implementation of policies happens. These instruments include public interest groups, the policy implementation commission, industry Canada, stentor, information technology association of Canada and Canadian advanced technology alliance.
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As shown above, the policy implementation process includes non-governmental actors, such as the public interest groups and stentor among other groups. The non-governmental groups participate actively, putting the government at pace to implement effective policies.
The policy makers face many challenges when addressing the problem. The key challenge to policy makers involves lack of proper funding. The process requires a lot of funding in terms of money and other resources. However, the government does not provide enough funds, to enable the policy makers engage the problem, in a more concrete manner. The other challenge involves government interference. The government interferes with the process of policy review practices undermining the process of solving the crisis. In addition to that, the government lacks commitment, to participate in the process of solving the telecommunications problem. The government has not committed itself fully in the process of solving the problem facing the telecommunication sector. This undermines the whole process, and makes it ineffective.
Telecommunications in the current policy community, in Canada faces many challenges. These challenges have reduced the impact and the influence that the Canadian telecommunications sector had, both internally and outside the Canadian country. Several stakeholders have tried to help solve the problems that the telecommunications sector faces. However, lack of commitment on the part of the government, together with lack of enough resources has made the process difficult. Therefore, Canada needs to focus more on the problem facing the telecommunication in the current policy community because the sector plays a pivotal role, in the political, social and economic spheres of Canada.
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