The Institutional Origins of Canada’s Telecommunications Mosaic

Michael de Percy, Alyssa Attioli

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Poster


The paper argues that the political circumstances leading up to Canadian Confederation resulted in a significant and lasting impact upon the institutional origins of Canada’s telecommunications market that persisted into the 21st century. It does so by first outlining the ideas and institutional dynamism that flowed from political rivalries in the lead-up to Confederation and coincided with the deployment of the telegraph. Second, the article discusses how commercial disputes created separate telegraph and telephone industries that embedded Canada’s unique telecommunications mosaic. The article concludes with a discussion of the importance of considering the local and regional imperative, and the legacies created by the original rationale, in developing national telecommunications policy. Canada’s approach sits somewhere between the private ownership model adopted by the United States and the public ownership model adopted in Australia. The major lesson from Canada is that, where diverse circumstances exist, addressing local and regional political imperatives can provide opportunities that might otherwise be overlooked by attempts to provide a standardised national solution in the delivery of telecommunications services to citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2024


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