[Originally Appearing On “The Wire Report” website, April 20th, 2015]
Ken Engelhart, Rogers Communications Inc.’s former vice-president of regulatory affairs, has quietly left the company after 25 years and will be starting his own law firm.
His last day at Rogers was April 10, he said in a phone interview.
“I’ll be hanging up a shingle and opening up my own law practice to do communications law,” he said, adding that he plans to cover all areas of communications law, such as broadcasting, telecom, and privacy, in his new practice.
Engelhart added that he will take some time off this summer.
“I’ve had a wonderful time at Rogers and it’s been a great 25 years, but you always think it would be nice to have some new challenges, some new excitement, some new adventures,” he said.
Engelhart said he had “an opportunity to do that” when Rogers’ former executive vice-president of regulatory affairs Phil Lind retired.
“I thought, well, I’ll apply for his job, and that would be a new adventure. I didn’t get his job, so I thought if I can’t have that new adventure, why don’t I create my own?”
Engelhart started at Rogers in January of 1990 as a director. He became a vice-president in 1992, and head of the regulatory department in 1998. For about the past five years, he was a senior vice-president.
“I sort of came in mostly as a telecom specialist, but then as time went by, I learned more about cable and then broadcasting and then privacy, so I’ve sort of become a jack-of-all trades,” he said.
Since he started working in the industry, “in a way, the world has gotten more complicated. And that makes the regulatory environment more complicated.”
When he began, industries like cable TV and phone service were monopolies. “So the CRTC initially had different types of monopoly regulation, and then moved to sort of more competitive regulation. And I guess what we’ve seen in the last 10 years or so is sort of the emergence of new types of regulation to deal with the fact that the competition that we have creates a lot of issues for consumers.”
Engelhart added that “there’s an awful lot of consumer regulation right now,” citing the examples like the CRTC’s Wireless Code and similar legislation that will be coming into force for TV providers.
“All of these kind of modern issues and consumer issues are more complex, more nuanced, and have more of a capacity for unintended consequences, but they’re also very important, because consumers have made their voice heard and they want solutions to the frustrations they face,” he said.
“So all of this makes being a regulatory person more complicated, but also more interesting.”
He starts his practice at a time that the industry is transforming, he noted when asked about which issues he foresees are big on the horizon.
Engelhart cited the example of television viewing moving online. “And online television is transforming the TV world, and it’s also having a big impact on the regulatory world and the CRTC has come out with some interesting decisions to incorporate online into the regulatory system.”
He added: “The continuing wireless saga is sort of interesting in terms of how the government and the CRTC, what steps they’re going to be taking to increase competition, etc, so that’s a file that has a lot of interesting components.”
The Internet is still in the process of transforming regulatory law, he noted.
“It’s a very fun industry to be in, and the regulatory issues in communications are always evolving and always interesting,” he said.
Reprinted with permission. Original article link.