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Catherine Middleton

Envisioning the Future of Communication

Even with mobile communication and digital media expanding dramatically in the past decade, many people in Canada still do not have easy or affordable access to high quality internet services. Although Canada’s mobile broadband networks offer high speeds, Canadians pay high prices for their mobile services and are not offered consumer-friendly options available in many other countries.

Dr. Catherine Middleton, Professor of Information Technology Management at the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) and Canada Research Chair in Communication Technologies in the Information Society, focuses on the implications of wireless internet access for policy and practice. Currently, free Wi-Fi is provided in other jurisdictions and she is interested in assessing the implications of this for social and economic development. For instance, she is currently exploring the impacts of providing free Wi-Fi in public spaces. Working with colleagues at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, she is investigating ways in which provision of reliable, fast, and free wireless can foster innovation and encourage entrepreneurship.

Until you have an environment where people can see possibility, we can’t realize the innovation,” Dr. Middleton states. “ Although you can see a concept, it can’t move beyond the concept stage without broader, underlying infrastructure.”  The research explores whether there is a strong business case for local governments to invest in public Wi-Fi as essential urban infrastructure.

The public sector asserts that high-speed internet is essential, but initiatives to improve broadband access in Canada have focused on providing services to homes, not to Canadians’ mobile devices. Policy makers must decide whether mobile access to the internet is essential for participation in today’s society, a point that Dr. Middleton and her colleagues will discuss with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Committee (CRTC) when it holds a consultation later this year to identify the basic telecommunication services needed by Canadians.

The Canadian government’s efforts to improve competitiveness in Canada’s mobile market have centred on enabling the creation of a fourth mobile phone company. But Dr. Middleton questions whether Canadians want more of the same, suggesting that policy could instead foster new approaches to providing mobile broadband and encourage different business models for service provision. Dr. Middleton is investigating whether there could be an expanded role of the public sector in providing mobile services and if Wi-Fi is an essential component of urban infrastructure in the 21st century. Her research into these areas has been widely published and has attracted the attention of policy makers through participation in Industry Canada and CRTC consultations.

***This story first appeared in Issue 13 (January 2015) of Innovation: Ryerson University Research & Innovation Newsletter published by the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation.  

Research Overview From Associate Dean

The vision and mission for the Ted Rogers School of Management articulate our distinctive brand and differentiate us from other business schools and so do our research and graduate programs.

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Faculty Profiles by School

Featured Faculty

Dr. Ayse Yuce
joined the faculty at the Ted Rogers School of Finance and Accounting in 2001 

Dr. Fei Song
joined the Ted Rogers School of Business Management at Ryerson University in 2005 as an assistant professor

Dr. Ozgur Turetken
studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate in his native Turkey and earned his MBA there before coming 

Dr. Linying Dong
came to Canada in 1999 to undertake her PhD in management information systems and remained to pursue an academic career here.

Dr. Howard Lin
joined the global management studies program at the Ted Rogers School of Business Management

Dr. Alison Kemper
joined the faculty of the Ted Rogers School of Business Management in 2013 after a 20-year management career 

Dr. Brennan Thompson
Even though his academic career is still young, Brennan has been at Ryerson longer than almost all of his colleagues in Economics

Dr. Cynthia Holmes
As someone who has always loved mathematics and was drawn to finance, perhaps it’s no surprise that Cynthia

Dr. Sean Wise
Sean Wise’s entrepreneurial career began at age 13, performing magic tricks at birthday parties in his Sean the Clown costume. Decades later

Dr. Pnina Alon-Shenker
fell in love with law while studying legal theory and the role law plays in society as a law student and decided

Dr. Chris MacDonald
is a professor, writer, speaker and consultant on ethics. MacDonald has been

Dr. Farid Shirazi
an expert in information and communications technology (ICT), is driven by a belief

Dr. Hong Yu
has been associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management

Dr. Horatio Morgan
is very passionate about unleashing the potential of enterprising individuals

Dr. Patricia R. Sniderman
left an established industry career in human resources management to join the Ryerson University faculty

Dr. Gabor Forgacs
grew up in Hungary during the Soviet era, working in the hospitality business was a breath of fresh air.

Dr. Sari Graben
is a lawyer who focuses her research on issues related to Indigenous peoples and resource development

Dr. Deborah de Lange
has always been passionate about making the world a better place

Dr. Rachel Dodds
has visited upwards of 80 countries --and counting -- because she firmly believes

Dr. Sui Sui
developed her passion for assisting small companies to adjust to the global marketplace

Dr. Dave Valliere
is a frequent media commentator on entrepreneurship and small business

Dr. Catherine Middleton
Canada Research Chair in Communication Technologies in the Information Society