Category action plan
How Canada’s online costs stack up worldwide
It’s no secret that when it comes to the Internet, Canadians pay higher prices for worse services than most countries in the industrialized world. This is largely because a handful of Big Telecom companies control upwards of 94% of the Internet service market in Canada, meaning that Canadians don’t have much real choice. Big Telecom's grip on Canadian communications needs to come to an end, and our policy-makers need to set the stage for real choice. Read and share our Action Plan for an open and affordable Internet at OpenMedia.ca/Plan. Help us continue to amplify Canadians’ voices by joining us as a monthly donor at OpenMedia.ca/Allies. Special thanks to Juljka for creating this infographic for us! This graph represents only one measure of pricing. Canada has gone from a leader to a middling country for broadband pricing in general. See broader statistics at OECD.org (see point 4 - Pricing) and download the statistics used for this chart as an Excel file here. View the full version by clicking on the image below.
You told us, we told them: A report-back from our meeting with Telus
When several senior representatives from Telus asked us to meet with them we knew immediately what we wanted the meeting to include: direct citizen stories about disrespectful and expensive cell phone service in Canada. This was clearly a unique opportunity to bring Canadian voices directly to executives running one of the big three cell phone giants. We shared a story from John, who was unexpectedly hit with a $300 bill from Telus after asking for a voice-only plan and unknowingly using expensive, metered data services. John quite effectively articulated the limited options facing customers: “What do I do to not pay this outrageous fee? Spend more hours on the phone? Spend thousands on legal fees to fight $300? Refuse to pay it, and have my credit rating dinged?” Reps from Telus discussed the various steps that they have taken to address these kinds of complaints. We highlighted some of the themes we’ve been hearing from you via Cell Phone Horror Stories, and on our Facebook wall: disrespectful customer service with unreasonable hold times; long contract lengths with expensive termination fees; false charges on your bills and a refusal to remove them; and high roaming fees in a context where cell phone service is already very expensive.
Nowak: Is the CRTC really citizen-friendly?
Canadians have been speaking out and decision-makers at the CRTC have been listening. We've been heard in gathering feedback for a new wireless code, stopping the initial takeover bid from Big Telecom Bell, and increasing transparency of network costs. But Big Telecom bureaucrats are attempting to influence decisions back in their favour – a setback that would be felt by Canadians nationwide. Help promote an open and transparent CRTC that is focused on public interest, share our Action Plan with your MP at OpenMedia.ca/Plan. Article by Pete Nowak Relatively new CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais was on a tear last week, proclaiming from every rooftop that there’s a new wind a-blowin’ at the regulator. It’s out with the old ways of doing business, where big businesses were all that mattered, and in with consumers, the every-day Joes that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is supposed to protect and look out for. After so many years of rubber-stamping anti-consumer moves by those big corporations – usage-based billing, anyone? – and muddying up potentially pro-consumer developments (remember Wind Mobile?), the new stance is refreshing to hear.
The Globe and Mail: The high costs of Arctic broadband
Canadians in the north are on the brink of a digital divide as aging networks, service outages and prohibitive costs all continue to affect everyday communications services. It's a struggle that is attributed to a dominant monopoly by Northwestel – a Bell subsidiary – that has been criticized in the past for mismanaging government funding. We've put together an Action Plan to remedy this digital disconnect, working to establish an open and affordable Internet for all. Learn more and share it with your MP at OpenMedia.ca/Plan. Article by Peter Nowak for The Globe and Mail: When Peter Jackson was making The Lord of the Rings trilogy, his iPod racked up some serious frequent-flyer miles. The device journeyed around the world multiple times as the director shuttled music for the films between his home and shooting locations in New Zealand and his studio in London. With the high cost of Internet bandwidth in New Zealand at the time, it was the only realistic way to move the data around. Over the course of production, Jackson sent 1.5 terabytes of data back and forth via courier. Each trip, carrying 30 gigabytes, took about two days. The process added lengthy delays to the production of the films, which would go on to win multiple Academy Awards. More than a decade later, Canadians and businesses in the north know the director’s pain. Poor services and especially high prices are interfering with their ability to join the rest of the world’s burgeoning digital economy.
CBC News: Superstorm shows value of endangered pay phones
In the midst of our push for Canadians to share their CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca to enact a new wireless code, we are reminded of the importance to have basic and affordable communications services available at all times to Canadians. Big Telecom tends to disagree with this sentiment – threatening to remove pay phones entirely should their calls to increase rates not be met. Help speak out against these plans to disconnect Canadian communications and share our Action Plan for a Connected Canada. Article by The Canadian Press for CBC News The events of superstorm Sandy are raising questions about the importance of payphones in emergencies, even as two of Canada's largest telecom companies say they will tear out some public telephones unless they are allowed to sharply raise prices.
The Georgia Straight: CRTC eyes new wireless rules, asks Canadians to help
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced they will hold a public hearing and consultation to create measures that will protect cell phone users. We're making headway in fixing our broken telecom market thanks to your support of our StopTheSqueeze.ca campaign and our crowdsourced Action Plan. Read more on these developments in our Press Release, send your comments to the CRTC via email, regular mail or fax and stay tuned for more information on how you can make your voice be heard. Article by Stephen Thomson for The Georgia Straight OpenMedia, a Vancouver-based open-Internet advocacy group, is pleased the CRTC is developing a retail code intended to protect users of mobile wireless services. The CRTC said Canadians have complained about the cost of such services, how clear contracts are, how prices are advertised, and customer service quality.
The Globe & Mail: Rogers and Bell to purchase majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
Two of Canada's biggest media conglomerates, Bell and Rogers, are partnering up. Their goal? To take control of the iconic Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment group. The CRTC approved the deal yesterday, which includes three TV channels, several sports teams, and even some real estate holdings. With the CRTC giving Big Telecom their blessing for the purchase by saying that 'consumer safeguards' are in place, attention now turns to the impending Bell takeover of Astral to be reviewed next month. Let the CRTC know that Big Telecom's power grab needs to be stopped. Share our Action Plan for a Connected Canada at http://openmedia.ca/plan/action-plan and stay tuned for future updates. Article by Rita Trichur for The Globe & Mail Canada’s broadcast regulator has given its blessing to a $1.3-billion agreement by BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. to purchase a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. While that paves the way for the two rivals to take control of the iconic sports company, the real test of consumer safeguards will come next month, when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission scrutinizes BCE’s $3.38-billion proposed takeover of Astral Media Inc.
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