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The CRTC now knows 45,000 Canadians stand with innovative new wireless providers

But, will they let Rogers kill a brand new cell phone provider?

At 5pm local time last night, OpenMedia submitted a 14 page submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on behalf of the over 45,000 Stop Blocking New Providers petition signers who asked the CRTC: "Do not cave to Big Telecom’s demands. Stop these giants from blocking innovative and affordable MVNO providers.” You can read the full filing here:

Our submission details what direction the CRTC should take to ensure innovative, affordable new providers like Sugar Mobile – which offers a hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular network – can set up shop and sell services in Canada. For more background on the conflict, be sure to check out my previous blogs here and here.

These 45,000 Canadians recognize that the Big Three wireless providers – Bell, Rogers, and Telus – control 90% of the mobile market, and force us to pay some of the highest bills in the industrialized world.

As one frustrated community member recently reminded us on Facebook, “We shouldn't have to tell the CRTC anything. They should protect the people's interests by default, not big business.”

The position of Canadians has now been made crystal clear to the CRTC. At OpenMedia, we work hard to mobilize everyday Internet users to take a stand for the open web through online actions that are paired with detailed policy work. And yesterday at 5pm, this is exactly what we did.

As we see it, the CRTC faces a fork in the road: it can either set out effective rules that ensure all Canadians can participate in the social and economic benefits brought by greater choice and affordability in wireless services; or it can empower Canada’s entrenched Big Three providers to, in effect, regulate our market through high prices, low speeds, oppressive data caps, and a troubling digital divide. OpenMedia and our 45,000 signatories feel that the path for the CRTC has been made clear.

Indeed, what these Canadians are calling for is quite simply greater choice and affordability in our wireless sector. This raises significant questions about the role of innovative wireless services in Canada, and the ability of our rules to encourage such innovation. These are the issues that our submission highlights, and we caution the CRTC not to fall for Rogers plan to eliminate new competitors.

Importantly, we note that the Commission’s Wholesale Wireless Framework was intended to preserve and promote choice and innovation in the Canadian wireless market by constraining the Big Telecom providers’ market power. Sugar Mobile is one of the few (if not the only) remaining independent new entrant wireless carriers in Canada, and Rogers is clearly wielding its market power to crush this small competitor.

That’s why we need to keep the pressure up. We estimate that the CRTC’s final ruling on this matter is at least 4 months away, and they need to hear your voice. Please, if you haven’t already, add your name to our Stop Blocking New Providers campaignto make sure the CRTC knows where Canadians stand. And if you’ve been with us along the way, please share the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.


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