Category big telecom
Or did he approve it? The truth is: Champagne rubber stamped the affordability-crushing deal. Here’s how he pulled off the sleight of hand.
Our “Minister of Collapse” must undo this affordability disaster of his own making.
Today’s the last day to add your voice to the public record against Telus’s new credit card processing fee.
CIVIL SOCIETY JOINT STATEMENT: 28,000 voices warn—Innovation Minister Champagne is on the hook to curb telecom monopolies after the Rogers outage
OpenMedia and Leadnow call on Minister François-Philippe Champagne to end Canada’s telecom monopolies and guarantee affordable and reliable high-speed Internet for everyone in Canada.
It’s time to end Big Telecom’s monopoly over our networks and finally bring affordable connectivity to Canada. This is how we do it.
Your voice, DELIVERED: OpenMedia’s submission to the government’s CRTC policy direction consultation is in!
Nearly 16,000 members of the OpenMedia community have spoken out to shape the future of the CRTC. Thank you for adding your voices!
To date, the OpenMedia community has called on the government a whopping 34,700+ times to block Rogers-Shaw. Talk about a deafening response!
This is our once-in-5-years shot to appoint a CRTC Chair who stands up for the people, NOT Big Telecom.
“Family of raccoons” leading OpenMedia poll to replace Rogers family as Canada’s supreme telecom dynasty
VOTE NOW! If a single telecom dynasty is going to rule us all, let’s pick a better one than the Rogers family.
On July 17th, OpenMedia placed a full-page ad in the Ottawa Citizen inviting CRTC Chair Ian Scott for a beer to discuss Internet regulation — just like he did with Bell!
The government's August 15 decision sided with Big Telecom over Canadians, and we're already seeing Internet bills going up.
While a step in the right direction, the Code fails to provide a sufficiently robust framework to protect customers from Big Telecom’s widespread predatory practices
We submitted over 14,000 voices to the government in support of a new policy direction for the CRTC that puts people first. Thank you for speaking out — this could be the beginning of a new era for Canada’s telecom market!
CRTC is holding week-long hearing on Big Telecom’s bad sales practices — share your stories using #CRTCforum!
Have you had a bad sales practices experience with your Internet or phone provider? Share your personal stories with the CRTC on Twitter using #CRTCforum!
"It's embarrassing and quite frankly it's rude to think that these are functional plans,"
Your OpenMedia team took a simple but important message to the recent CRTC hearing: broadband access is considered an essential service by most Canadians and we deserve better. It's time for the CRTC to bridge the digital divide.
Our own Josh Tabish, Laura Tribe, and consultant David Ellis, are at the CRTC this morning, to call for affordable Internet for all Canadians. Here's what they have to say.
We delivered feedback from over 40,000 people to the CRTC, calling for action to ensure 100% of Canadians have affordable, high-speed Internet access
We're less than 48 hours away from a critical CRTC hearing that will shape the future of the Internet in Canada and we need everyone on board to ensure we all get access to the affordable, world-class broadband we deserve. Here's what you can do.
TV customers to benefit from a clearer, more effective complaints resolution process.
They’re at it again: telecom giants Rogers and Bell are trying to crush an innovative, affordable mobile provider. We’re taking this to the CRTC, and we need you to stand with us.
Government should step in after disappointing CRTC ruling closes door to new affordable wireless alternatives
Today’s CRTC ruling means Big Telecom can continue to block more affordable Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) from setting up in Canada.
Last week, one of Canada’s Big Telecom giants announced a controversial new scheme that will give them more power to control how you use the Internet on your mobile devices – and, if we don’t speak up, the Big Three will soon follow suit. Videotron wants the power to hand-choose which mobile streaming apps and services are more expensive than others. How are they doing this? By bundling them into outdated Cable-TV-style packages for mobile phone users. As a result, they’re giving unfair advantage to the services they decide are “worthy” of our attention and discriminating against others – an anti-user practice that positions them as gatekeepers of our mobile networks, and violates Canada’s open Internet (AKA: Net Neutrality) rules.
Barking Technology: Bell still claims to have a right to charge customers for a non-existent service
Bell is continuing to fight to charge customers for a 911 service that did not exist... Article by William Neilson for Barking Technology The Toronto Sun has a rather shocking story of Bell Canada’s continued fight to assert that they were legally allowed to charge customers a monthly fee for a 911 service that did not exist. Dating back to 2007, Bell Canada customers in several Canadian Territories were charged 75 cents a month for a 911 service that never existed. Those who called this 911 service were rerouted to a 10-digit number and a subsequent message stating: “There are no 911 services in this area. Please hang up and dial the emergency number for your area. Or hang up and dial zero to reach an operator.” When residents would therefore dial zero, they then received a recorded message stating “in case of emergency, hang up and dial *911”.
First Nations kids in Ontario found a solution to no high-speed, ridiculously expensive Internet service: they built their own infrastructure. Learn more below, and demand world-class Internet service for 100% of Canadians at UnblockCanada.ca Article by Jordan Pearson for Motherboard
Our own Josh Tabish explains in this article the importance of high-speed fibre Internet for all Canadians and why it took Canada so long to adopt this technology. Artice by Brian Chin for Yahoo News If you're tired of waiting for your TV shows or movies to finish downloading, you can now take advantage of Canada's fastest internet.
And there you have it. Comcast – one of the most hated telecom companies in the world – just admitted that data caps are bogus. In Canada, we have a unique chance to end data caps through an ongoing CRTC hearing. Speak out at UnblockCanada.ca Article by TechDirt
CRTC's recent ruling on high-speed fibre networks ensures a significant step forward for Canadians’ ability to access affordable Internet options independent of Canada’s large telecom providers. You got us here by speaking out, and believing that we could build a better Internet for Canada. And decision-makers at the CRTC listened! Article by Michael Geist for the Toronto Star
We Won! As you may have heard, a major ruling on Wednesday from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ensures a significant step forward for Canadians’ ability to access affordable Internet options independent of Canada’s large telecom providers. In short, the ruling creates fair rules forcing Big Telecom to make their digital infrastructure available to small independent ISPs (i.e., outside of Big Telecom) at a reasonable rate, so they are empowered to sell ultra-fast fibre Internet services to Canadians. This means faster, cheaper fibre connections could be coming to your household soon!
Only 24 Hours Remain We have less than 24 hours to tell decision-makers at the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to stop Big Telecom’s plan to keep us locked into some of the slowest, most expensive Internet services in the industrialized world. There’s never been a better time to demand that the government hit the “reset button” on Canada’s lacklustre digital strategy.
Bad news: Big Telecom giants are throwing every lawyer and lobbyist they have at a rapidly-approaching government hearing so they can block you from faster, cheaper Internet services. If they get their way, Canadians will be continue to be stuck with embarrassingly slow Internet speeds and fall even further behind the rest of the world. And we’re already living with what the CEO of Netflix called “third world” Internet access.
New Bell Media chief Mary Ann Tucke started with the wrong foot with Netflix 'stealing' comment. Article by Michael Geist Bell Media president Mary Ann Turcke sparked an uproar last week when she told a telecom conference that Canadians who use virtual private networks (VPNs) to access the U.S. version of Netflix are stealing. Turcke is not the first Canadian broadcast executive to raise the issue – her predecessor Kevin Crull and Rogers executive David Purdy expressed similar frustration with VPN use earlier this year – but her characterization of paying customers as thieves was bound to garner attention.
Good news Canada! June 3, 2015 is Cell Phone Freedom Day. Starting next Wednesday, three year contracts which have run for 24 months or more can be cancelled without any penalties. For example, if you entered into a 3-year cell phone contract on June 3, 2013, you now have the option of ending that contract on June 3, 2015, without penalty.
Starting June 3, three year contracts which have run or 24 months or more can be cancelled without any penalties. Together, we helped make this code of conduct happen by developing our crowdsourced action plan for the future of our wireless market.
As cell phone customers reel from yet another Big Telecom price hike, it seems like our wireless market is moving backwards not forwards. Telecom expert and OpenMedia community member Ben Klass asks what will it take for Canadians to get the greater choice and lower prices we deserve. Article from Ben Klass' blog Last week, Mobile Syrup reported that the big 3′s flanker brands, Virgin, Fido, and Koodo (including zombified competitor Public Mobile) would be raising prices on their wireless plans at the same time.
This week, experts at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) – the body that oversees Canada’s .ca domain – released their 2014 Factbook, which chronicles Canada’s advancement on Internet issues over the past year. The Factbook investigates how well-positioned Canadians are in the areas of access, cost, and usage. The report shows Canada continues to slip further behind our global counterparts. For example, Canada has crashed from 2nd place in 2001 on broadband penetration amongst industrialized nations to 16th place in 2014.
Big Telecom is running scared of cord-cutters - and is doing what it takes to block them from watching their favourite shows online. It looks like Rogers is even planning to block Canadians from watching Hockey Night online. They want to trap Canadians in expensive and outdated service plans - and they’re using their power and control to do so. It’s not too late to push back by telling decision-makers at the CRTC to put Canadians first when it comes to our digital future. Have you cut the cord from your television service recently - or are you considering it? If so, you’ve probably noticed it’s getting more difficult to watch the content you want online. The reason is clear - Big Telecom is terrified of cord-cutters and is determined to do what it takes to trap Canadians in their expensive TV service plans.
Financial Post: Industry Minister Moore blocks Bell and Rogers from obtaining Nextwave’s wireless spectrum
Ottawa has blocked telecom giants Bell and Rogers from gobbling up even more scarce and valuable wireless spectrum. Let's keep up the pressure on Industry Minister Moore to rein in Big Telecom at https://openmedia.ca/gatekeepers Article by Christine Dobby for Financial Post TORONTO – Ottawa has blocked a bid by two of Canada’s largest wireless carriers to scoop up more cellular airwaves, taking the opportunity again to drive home its policy on the industry.
It looks like the Big Three telecom giants are fighting hard to maintain their stranglehold over our wireless market, and over Canadians’ wallets. The Big Three have been on the back foot since pressure from tens of thousands of Canadians won positive new customer protection rules last year, along with a clear government commitment to increase choice and lower prices. Now Big Telecom is pushing back. They’re sitting on huge piles of cash after years of price-gouging Canadians with some of the highest prices in the industrialized world. It seems they’ve been using that money to hire expensive Ottawa lobbyists to pressure the government.
The National Post's Christine Dobby looks back at Big Telecom's efforts last year to limit your telecom choice. We know Big Telecom are gearing up for a huge fight in 2014 as they try to keep your bills sky-high. Article by Christine Dobby for the National Post Last summer a simmering dispute over obscure regulations boiled over into all-out war as the country’s cellphone titans took on the federal government and its efforts to entice a U.S. giant north. The dialogue got heated as the three largest wireless carriers – ostensible rivals – joined forces to target Ottawa’s policy on the industry. They waged a co-ordinated public relations campaign with troops of executives touring newsrooms to get the message out. They flooded the airwaves with radio ads, launched a website and helped boost the newspaper industry with a barrage of full-page ads about the U.S. threat and Ottawa’s betrayal, each one more dire than the next.
With three big telecom companies controlling 92% of the Canadian mobile market, Canadians have been dissatisfied long enough for a separate group, the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, to have been created a few years ago. This lack of choice is unacceptable and harmful for users. Demand more choice, better prices, and more opportunities at http://cellphonehorrorstory.ca Article by Nelson Bennett for Business in Vancouver:
With your support we've been able to share your cell phone horror stories with decision-makers at the CRTC, bring your messages directly to officials behind the TPP, and continue in amplifying Canadian voices on an international level. Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing and digital rights activist, had this to say: "At a time when Canada's regulators are asleep at the wheel, when giant telcos and the US Trade Representative's interests are getting more play than the Canadian public's desperate need for open, fair, and fast networks, OpenMedia is an indispensable and tireless fighter for justice and balance." Let us continue to work for you by making a contribution to OpenMedia at OpenMedia.ca/Allies.
Independent Internet Service Provider TekSavvy has announced that an American film studio is demanding personal information of its Canadian customers – a motion that follows recent changes to Canadian copyright law. In response, TekSavvy is taking a stance that aims to protect Canadian privacy – stating that it will not provide personal information without a court order. Help encourage this protection of Canadians' privacy in making the switch to an independent ISP at OpenMedia.ca/Switch. Join us in becoming a monthly contributor to OpenMedia at OpenMedia.ca/Allies. Article by Daniel Tencer for Huffington Post An independent internet service provider popular with tech geeks in central Canada is warning that it has been asked to hand over personal information about customers in advance of a potential file-sharing lawsuit, and it’s telling its customers they may want to lawyer up. Chatham, Ont.-based TekSavvy says it has received a request from Hollywood production company Voltage Pictures to identify the people behind 2,000 IP addresses which the company presumably suspects of unauthorized file-sharing.
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.
This week, Canadians learned that big telecom company Telus will be further limiting how much its customers can use the Internet. Soon after, we learned that big telecom company Bell will be jacking up their prices for Internet. After fighting for Internet openness and affordability for years, the pro-Internet community knows: this is price-gouging, pure and simple. It’s no secret that when it comes to the Internet, Canadians pay higher prices for worse services than people in most countries in the industrialized world. This is largely because a small 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.
Telus has announced plans to cut back on user bandwidth for its Internet service starting early next year. This Internet disservice comes after Telus met with OpenMedia to state that they were wanting to make amends with Canadians. Now is the time for Canadians to take action in making the switch to Distributel, TekSavvy or another independent ISP at OpenMedia.ca/Switch. Help us keep Big Telecom on their toes by making a contribution to OpenMedia at OpenMedia.ca/Allies. Article by Daniel Tencer for The Huffington Post Some Telus customers are upset after the phone and internet service company started sending out notifications that it is reducing upload and download limits on its home internet service. The change, which comes into effect on Feb. 1, 2013, affects only Telus customers who use the company’s land-line internet service, which is available in Alberta and British Columbia. Users of the Telus High-Speed service will see their upload and download cap reduced to 100 gigabytes per month from the current 150 gigabytes. Users of its highest-level service — Telus High Speed Turbo 25 — will see their download caps halved, to 250 gB from the current 500 gB. (A complete list of the new bandwidth caps is available at the Telus website.)
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.
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.
As decision-makers at the CRTC continue to invite citizen input in developing a new wireless code, we're continuing to share some of the stories that Canadians have sent in through CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca. We're making progress with having digital policy decisions that are made with public interest in mind. If you haven't already, share your Big Telecom horror story to tell the CRTC how to fix our broken telecom market.
Big telecom company Bell is once again trying to take over Astral Media and gain more control over Canada’s media system. This comes only one month after the CRTC listened to Canadians decrying the deal and shot down the merger, saying that this concentration of power in Bell’s hands would not benefit the public. Bell is attempting to make the argument that their takeover would benefit Canadians, despite the fact that Canadians have already been clear that this is not the case. Learn more about the Bell/Astral merger and take action at StopTheTakeover.ca. Read more on these developments in our press release.
Bell is attempting to repackage its $3.38-billion takeover of Astral Media to decision-makers at the CRTC. This Big Telecom power-grab would lead to higher vertical integration, less market choice and increased costs to Canadians. Let's ensure that our voices are heard once more. Speak out against Bell's tightening grip over Canadian communications by telling the CRTC to StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Steve Ladurantaye and Jacquie McNish for The Globe and Mail Canada’s broadcast regulator has signalled it would clear the way for BCE Inc. to bulk up in Quebec as it resurrects its bid for Astral Media Inc, provided the media giant unloads television and radio stations in the rest of the country and does a better job of explaining how its $3-billion takeover would benefit Canadians. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission warned BCE and Astral Media when it rejected the first takeover bid that it was concerned that a combined company would control too much of the Canadian market, including Quebec.
Michelle is all smiles after ending her relationship with Big Telecom Bell over increased costs and a monster twelve-page bill containing over 480 tethering charges she received earlier this year. Visit CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca to share your experiences and help provide input in creating a new wireless code for Canadians.
When decision-makers at the CRTC announced they'd be gathering Canadians' input into restructuring a new wireless code, you made your Big Telecom horror stories heard loud and clear. While we continue to share your stories sent through CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca, the CRTC has now announced an additional way to share your comments with them directly. This is a sign of progress that we're looking to maintain. If you haven't already, share your story and let's help fix our broken telecom market. Learn more about this call to Canadians from the CRTC.
Canada’s wireless market has long been locked up by the Big Three giants at Rogers, Bell, and Telus who have mislead Canadians into accepting substandard customer service. It’s a chokehold that has confined the growth of smaller competitors and one that continues to set the rules on what service is adopted as being ‘fair’ – even when its not. Last month, decision-makers at the CRTC invited Canadians to provide input on constructing a new wireless code for Big Telecom to adhere to, essentially putting the keys to their unruly kingdom in your hand. In response to this call for Canadians to speak out, we established an online tool at CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca as a way for you to share with the CRTC what you’d like to see change about Big Telecom cell phone service and why.
Rogers is being accused of anti-competitive tactics by independent ISPs who are using its network. The dispute surrounds Rogers 'speed-boosting' without changes in price to customers – but not allowing independent providers to access the same speeds without first paying additional costs. These costs aren't just being payed by indie ISPs, they're being passed down to Canadians. Let Big Telecom know that Canadians won't stand for their Internet tampering; make the switch to an indie ISP at OpenMedia.ca/Switch. Article by Pete Nowak After a period of relative public calm, the internet access wars are ratcheting up once again with the CRTC being asked to intervene in a dispute between independent service providers and Rogers. This time it’s the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, an affiliation of indie ISPs, accusing Rogers of trying to unfairly charge more for higher-speed services. CNOC says Rogers recently boosted download and upload speeds for its own retail customers without any price increases, a move that is supposed to automatically result in those same speeds being made available to independent ISPs who use parts of its network. CNOC says Rogers is offering its members those higher speeds, but only at an additional cost.
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.
Canadians have long been speaking out to safeguard affordable access to our communications – but only recently are we seeing digital policy decision-makers at the CRTC beginning to put public interest first. Canadians are in the drivers seat and we need to tell the CRTC which direction to take. Share your CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca and help enact a new wireless code for Canada - we'll be bringing your horror stories to Big Telecom Telus this week and report back with what they have to say. Article by Michael Geist The fall of 2007 was a particularly bleak period for Canadians concerned with digital policies. The government had just issued a policy direction to the CRTC to adopt a hands-off regulatory approach even as consumer prices for Internet and wireless services were increasing. Meanwhile, the Department of Public Safety held a semi-secret consultation on Internet surveillance where mandatory disclosure of subscriber information was assumed.
If you had the chance – what would you say to the heads of Canada’s Big Telecom giants? It’s a tiring process trying to talk with someone – anyone – from within Big Telecom who seems to empathize with or understand Canadians. We’ve been a conduit for citizen concerns from the beginning with our StopTheMeter.ca campaign; and we’re still continuing on today with our call for Canadians to reshape our wireless market by sharing their CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca. We’ve been reading your horror stories and we know that you’re angry. We need new rules that apply to all Big Telecom companies equally – rules that are upheld and followed, instead of avoided. What should these rules be? Don’t just tell us, tell Telus.
For the past few weeks we've been asking you to share your CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca to tell decision-makers at the CRTC what steps to take in fixing our broken telecom market. Now, we're looking to feature some of the most engaging comments we've received from Canadians with regards to price-gouging, contracts, customer service and more. If you haven't already, tell your story and let's create a new wireless code that puts Canadians first.
Canadian citizens are paying for Internet access, but Big Telecom isn't being completely open about the restrictions that they've been imposing. When Big Telecom was confronted about throttling Canadians' Internet connections last year, they made a promise to change their ways by this year's end. Read on for an overview of what the Canadian Gamers Organization has found out and how your Internet connection could be affected. To make the switch from Big Telecom to an independent provider in your area, visit OpenMedia.ca/Switch Blog authored by Teresa Murphy & Jason Koblovsky In 2011, the Canadian Gamers Organization (CGO) submitted a complaint on Internet throttling stating that the CRTC was not taking consumer interests to heart. Since then, we’ve made it clear that consumer rights were not adequately being protected by the Commission concerning its policies on Internet Traffic Management Practices (ITMPs).
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.
Over the past month, we've seen a number of decisions made by the CRTC that have resulted from Canadians speaking out against Big Telecom's unfair practices. The CRTC has shown they are willing to listen to Canadians, so let's make ourselves be heard. Share your CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca and let's take the steps to fix our broken telecom market. Article by Rita Trichur for The Globe and Mail At first, Jean-Pierre Blais did not want the job. When headhunters approached him late last winter, they sought his advice on who would be a suitable candidate to lead Ottawa’s watchdog on the telecommunications and broadcasting industries. Mr. Blais supplied them with some names. Then the headhunters came back. “At one point they said: ‘Well, would you be interested?’ And that’s when I laughed them off because I knew how daunting a job this is,” said Mr. Blais. “Even back then, I knew that the public trust had disappeared, that technology was creating a stress on the system, that there was a lot of tension in the system because of the vigour of competition.” But then came a change of heart. After weeks of reflection, he agreed to apply for the job – a decision that is now altering the course of the Canadian communications business.
Big Telecom's increased control has contributed to Canadians feeling 'cell-shocked' by our broken telecom market. But if you had the chance to change anything about your wireless services, what would it be? Policy-makers at the CRTC are now opening up their decision-making process to Canadian input. Share your Cell Phone Horror Story at CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca and let's tell the CRTC to put public interest first. Article by Laura Payton for CBC News A consumer group worried that a bureaucratic hurdle could stop people from giving feedback about a code of conduct for cellphone companies is compiling complaints from Canadians. Open Media, a watchdog group that fights to keep internet access cheap, says it wants to make it easier for consumers to tell their stories about battles with cellphone companies. The group has launched a website, CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca, to collect complaints about what they say is a "broken cellphone market."
After speaking out against Bell's $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media, the CRTC made a decision to listen to Canadians and block the Big Telecom expansion of power. Naturally, Bell hasn't been so easy to give up on its power-grab – instead now taking on Canadians and the CRTC. We need to stand by the CRTC decision that was made in our favour, telling our MPs to do the same. Sign and share our StopTheTakeover.ca campaign to help stop Bell's takeover for good. Article by Simon Houpt for The Globe & Mail It sounded at once alluring and kind of unseemly. At a roundtable chat here on Tuesday afternoon hosted by Larry King, Kevin Crull, the president of Bell Media, listened in admiration as his fellow panelists sketched out their utopian visions for how technology is making the world an infinitely better place. One Kenyan entrepreneur talked about a game he had developed, in which players protect trees from illegal loggers, that helped change people’s views of the practice in the real world. Brian David Johnson, a futurist at Intel, marvelled: “The idea that people just carry the Internet in their pocket – they carry a gateway to global business, to global politics in their pocket – I think has just had a massive, massive effect on our society.”
As part of a larger campaign to spread awareness about communications issues in Canada, we at OpenMedia.ca have been encouraging students at universities and colleges across Canada to run OpenMedia.ca clubs on their campuses. Previously, our campus club at OpenMedia McGill reported back on their trip to the Bell/Astral hearings in September. Now, they're sharing their insight into the CRTC decision that was made after Canadians spoke out to StopTheTakeover.ca. Read on for how Bell's takeover was stopped with your support, where the merger stands now and how you can help in speaking out further.
The number of cell phone complaints increased this year by 35% – a spike that can be attributed to Big Telecom's tightening grip over over our communications. But there is good news, as Canada's communications policy makers at the CRTC have invited Canadian input in future decision-making. Speak out and share your cell phone horror story at CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca.
As we encourage Canadians continue to share their CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca, your support has helped in getting the attention of policy makers and producing media coverage nationwide. The CRTC is taking notice of what you have to say, so we're rallying your voices to get even louder. Share your horror stories and visit OpenMedia.ca/Halloween to face your cell phone service fears.
In a report released last week, Canada's cell phone services received the notable dishonour of having the most complaints out of any telecommunications service. It's time for these concerns with our broken telecom market to be addressed by the CRTC. Share your story through our online tool CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca and let's work towards a wireless code that benefits Canadians. Article by Omid Ghoreishi for The Epoch Times Complaints about telecom services rose again this year, with wireless services topping the list of complaints for the fourth consecutive time, according to Canada’s Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS). “Nearly 11,000 consumer complaints were filed with us. That represents an increase of 35 percent over last year,” said commissioner Howard Maker in a statement announcing the release of the CCTS’s annual report for 2011/2012.
In the wake of Canadians speaking out to StopTheTakeover.ca, CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais is emphasizing the importance of earning Canadians' trust and input in future decision-making. Let's ensure that this pledge to serving the public interest stands. Show the CRTC that Canadians are stuck in an unfair and expensive cell phone market by sharing your story at CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca. Article by Rita Trichur for The Globe and Mail The federal broadcast and telecommunications regulator is on a mission to “rebuild” the trust of Canadians by renewing its focus on consumers, creators and citizens. Jean-Pierre Blais, the newly minted chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, gave that frank assessment as he outlined his vision for the regulatory body at an industry conference on Monday. After spending roughly four months on the job, Mr. Blais is already making strides to define his legacy for when his term ends in 2017. At that time, he wants the CRTC to be an institution that is “trusted” by Canadians, noting many are skeptical about the regulator and its mandate in the digital era.
We're making progress in having a transparent review of Big Telecom's pricing practices for independent providers, but Canadian citizens are still being overcharged for everyday services. Let's move forward together and put Big Telecom's price-gouging behind us. Make the pledge to switch to an independent provider using our online tool at OpenMedia.ca/Switch. Article by Hugh Thompson for The Globe and Mail An Angus Reid study conducted last year found that almost half of all Canadians would give up watching television before they would ditch their Internet or telephone service. High-speed Internet, like telephone service, has become an essential service. Unfortunately for Internet users, Canadian cable and telecommunications companies know this and have spent the last few years jacking up Internet pricing at rates well in excess of inflation.
A CRTC decision came down on Friday for more transparency to how Big Telecom assigns wholesale rates and pricing. This is another sign of progress for the +500,000 Canadian citizens who spoke out through StopTheMeter.ca. Use our online tool at OpenMedia.ca/Switch to find independent providers in your area and read more about the CRTC transparency decision.
Given that Canada’s media system is already one of the most highly concentrated in the industrialized world, the case has brought a lot of attention to the problems of vertical integration, and the negative impacts it can have on the availability of content, and the prices we pay. As the CRTC noted in its ruling, Bell is “the largest Internet service provider in Canada, the second largest wireless service provider and the third largest television distributor”. When one company owns the medium and the message, there is a strong profit incentive to push content that it owns, or restrict access to other content it doesn’t control.
The CRTC decision on stopping Bell's takeover has shown that Canadians are being heard. Now let's continue to push forward in fixing our broken telecom market. Share your horror story at CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca and show the CRTC that Canadians are stuck in an unfair and expensive cell phone market.
Professor Michael Geist talks about how Canadians are taking back the CRTC and our communications system. For more on the historic StopTheMeter.ca UBB campaign click here. Join OpenMedia.ca at OpenMedia.ca/allies. To see the full interview, click here.
After losing in its battle against Canadians before the CRTC, Bell announced it would try to get parliament to overturn the decision! The Big Telecom company just can't respect the will of citizens in a democracy. Despite Bell's sour grapes, the federal government has stated that it won't overturn yesterday's groundbreaking decision by the CRTC to stop Bell's takeover. Bell's dwindling options now reside with the Federal Court of Appeal. We must stay vigilant in case they go that route. Thank you for speaking out and ensuring that Bell's takeover was stopped. Let's continue forward with fixing Canada's broken telecom market. Read more about the government's decision in a news article at The Globe and Mail
Because of your support of the http://StopTheTakeover.ca/ campaign, Bell's takeover of Astral Media has been stopped by the CRTC. Had the deal been approved, Bell would have been given an overwhelming market share of Canada's communications – effectively allowing them to price-gouge Canadians and restrict access to the open Internet. We're now taking steps to fix our broken telecom market. Simply put: THANK YOU. Article by Knowlton Thomas for Techvibes Earlier this year Bell acquired Astral Media for a whopping $3.4 billion. But the deal was too big to happen easily—the merger acquired a deep investigation from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Today, the CRTC finalized a decision. And it shocked many.
Last week, the CRTC put forth a call for public comments to help shape the future of Canada's wireless market. This week, we're launching a new campaign to ensure that Canadian voices are heard loud and clear. With your support in speaking out, we're already gaining traction in media outlets nationwide. Make your voice heard and share your story to the CRTC at CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca. Article by Rita Trichur for The Globe and Mail An online activist group that once sparked a public outcry over the controversial issue of usage-based billing for Internet access is now taking aim at cellphone contracts.
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.
As broadcast regulators review Bell's takeover of Astral Media, we're keeping a close eye on Bell's increasing vertical integration that would put Canadian pricing and choice at risk. Speak out against Bell's tightening grip over Canadian communications by telling the CRTC to StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Chris Peirce for Financial Post Innovation in this digital age is driving transformational change. If Canada acts to harness this transformation, Canadian consumers will be able to access and utilize the content they desire, and Canadian businesses will become more productive and competitive in both the Canadian and global economies. Canadian success at home and abroad for a generation and beyond is contingent upon the decisions we make today to foster a marketplace that drives and rewards this innovation.
As broadcast regulators review Bell's $3.4B takeover of Astral Media, we've been reviewing how this acquisition would increase telecom prices, saturate Canada's media channels and severely limit consumer choice. Beyond affecting Canadians on a national level, Bell's takeover could take away from Francophone cultural identity, to which Astral Media has long been a prominent supporter. Speak out in telling the CRTC that Bell's increasing vertical integration is bad for all Canadians at StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Allan Woods for The Toronto Star Quebec revels in few things more than when its artists rise to the top. Think Celine Dion. Think Cirque du Soleil. Think way back even to Mitsou. They are the cream-of-the-crop from a tiny French-speaking society that continues climbing within the seemingly bottomless pitcher that is the world. Think more recently of Academy Award-nominated films like Monsieur Lazhar, Incendies and Barney’s Version. Here, you will find the common link that has Quebec’s actors, writers, directors and technicians — not to mention the newly elected Parti Québécois government — terribly concerned.
Big telecom companies are feeling the squeeze as online services are offering Canadians alternative, cheaper ways to communicate and get access to diverse media content. These include video services like YouTube, AppleTV, and Netflix, and Internet-based social messaging services. These services provide an easily customizable and far more affordable alternative to content services offered by Canada’s media conglomerates. According to the Boston Consulting Group, “traditional telco operating models that were shaped in an era of government-owned monoliths are showing signs of severe strain”. The Group highlights a range of challenges that have been prompted by online services, which may be bad for Big Telecom’s aging business models, but are great for Canadians. One of Big Telecom’s biggest challenges? People are saving money by using online messaging services rather than more traditional phone services. A study from market researcher Ovum shows that in the U.S., cell phone users saved $13.9 billion overall in text-messaging fees because of their' ability to access Internet-based social messaging services.
The hearings on Bell's $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media has ended, but we need to make sure we keep speaking out as the CRTC makes its decision as to whether or not the deal will be approved. Join our StopTheTakeover.ca campaign and let your voice be heard in telling our broadcast regulators that Bell's increasing vertical integration is bad for Canadians.
Canada's Competition Bureau is keeping a close eye on Bell's $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media, saying that it could strike down the deal even if it passes review by broadcast regulators. Of primary concern is Bell's increasing vertical integration, meaning that it owns both producers of content (networks) and the broadcast infrastructure to deliver it. As the CRTC reviews its decision on Bell's takeover, the time to speak out is now. Sign our petition at StopTheTakeover.ca and let's continue to amplify our voices against this grab for power. Article by Steve Ladurantaye for The Globe & Mail The federal Competition Bureau is “increasingly concerned” that BCE Inc.’s $3.4-billion purchase of Astral Media Inc. would put too much power in the hands of one broadcaster, with the watchdog saying it could strike down the deal even if broadcast regulators allow it to proceed. Competition Commissioner Melanie Aitken said her office paid close attention to the testimony last week as a parade of executives and individuals appeared before the country’s broadcast regulator at a hearing examining whether the deal would ultimately benefit Canadians. She’s not convinced. While all of the bureau’s investigations are done behind closed doors, Ms. Aitken warned she has concerns that go beyond her standard duty to review every large transaction. “We are watching closely,” said Ms. Aitken. “There have been a lot of complaints during the course of our review and we are increasingly concerned about vertical integration and its effect on competition.”
Big telecom companies across Canada are continuing to employ 'usage-based billing', an punitive billing practice that restricts data allowances. Though many of you fought back against UBB via the Stop The Meter campaign—you prevented it from being imposed across the entire Internet service market—Big Telecom continues to use it to price-gouge Canadians. Tell the CRTC that we want a full and comprehensive review of Big Telecom's Internet rates and hidden fees at PriceHike.ca. Together, we can put an end to this deceptive data pricing. A recent study suggests that some 10 per cent of Canadians now use the streaming video service Netflix. But the company evidently believes it could be doing better — and providing a better service to Canadians — were it not for Canada’s internet service providers. Article by Daniel Tencer for Huffington Post Canada “It’s almost a human rights violation what they’re charging for internet access in Canada,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told a conference in Los Angeles last week, as quoted by GigaOM. “The problem in Canada is … they have almost third-world access to the internet,” he added in an interview a day later. At the heart of the matter for Netflix is "usage-based billing," or limiting the amount subscribers can download per month, a practice some Canadian ISPs put into place at roughly the same time that Netflix was preparing its move into the Canadian market. Some ISPs that already had caps lowered those limits in response to Netflix's arrival.
The CRTC is making attempts to emphasize affordability, access and a focus on citizen issues with a revised priorities document that was released late last week. By shifting towards an outlook that keeps the best interests of Canadians first and foremost, rather than heeding to corporate industry-defined mandates, the CRTC is recognizing that we should have a say in the future of our communications. This reaction by the CRTC is the result of numerous actions by Canadians nationwide in staying engaged, informed and vocal about these issues. We'll have to ensure that the CRTC isn't trying to simply adopt our language to placate us without following through on these promises – it's up to us to make sure they walk the talk. Let's start this push now with StopTheTakeover.ca and let's tell the CRTC to stop corporate interests from diluting Canadian communications. Article from MichaelGeist.ca The Canadian communications world is focused this week on the proposed merger between Bell and Astral Media as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission holds its much-anticipated hearing on the issue in Montreal. While the merger takes centre stage, the Commission may have upstaged the process last Thursday by releasing a detailed priorities document that covers the next three years. My weekly technology law column notes that with Jean-Pierre Blais installed as the new CRTC chair and the Conservatives emboldened by majority government, the Commission's priorities send a message of change in Canadian communications policy. The days of emphasizing Canadian content rules or legislative overhauls are over, replaced by a consumer-oriented focus on affordable access to both content and connectivity services.
CRTC hearings began this morning on Bell's proposed $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media. If the deal is approved, it would greatly increase Bell's media ownership across Canada's broadcast spectrum – all at the expense of restricting fair market choice and competition for Canadians. The time to unite and speak out against Bell's maneuvering is now. Let the CRTC hear our disapproval by adding your voice to our ongoing campaign at StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Jamie Sturgeon for Financial Post Odds are near certain you’ve never heard of ViaNetTV, a tiny Toronto-based television startup. And if BCE Inc. gets its way you never will, according to its founder, Alexei Tchernobrivets. For more than a year, ViaNetTV has attempted to negotiate with Bell Media, the sprawling telecom and media conglomerate’s entertainment unit, for the right to carry Bell-owned television channels like Discovery and MuchMusic through its new TV service.
Canadian citizens are being price-gouged by Big Telecom even as their costs seemingly go down. We're paying more but falling behind and getting less than our global counterparts due to restrictive data caps that are becoming increasingly prevalent. We've seen how Big Telecom has avoided being transparent about their pricing procedures before, but data is calling this secrecy further into question. Tell the CRTC that we want a full and comprehensive review of Big Telecom's Internet rates at http://PriceHike.ca/ and together we can put an end to deceptive data pricing. Article by Phillip Dampier for StopTheCap.com Prices to move data across the Internet continue to decline throughout the world. According to new data from TeleGeography’s IP Transit Pricing Service, price declines in most locations accelerated over the past year, at an accelerating pace. But none of those savings are showing up on customer bills. In fact, while providers have been increasing broadband prices over the past three years, their costs to provide the service continue to plummet.
We've seen how the Bell/Astral deal is bad for consumer choice before, but a new report is shedding further light on this vertical integration of Canada's communications. Currently, 81.4% of the value of Canada's TV distribution market is controlled by companies that also create content, meaning that Big Telecom companies are not only transmitting our programming – they're producing it as well. With the CRTC's impending review of the Bell/Astral merger coming next month – the time to speak out is now. Join concerned Canadians in speaking out against Bell's monopolistic takeover at http://StopTheTakeover.ca/. Article by Daniel Tencer for Huffington Post Canada Canada has the most concentrated TV industry ownership of any G8 country, and the second most concentrated TV audience, says a new report that aims to measure the impact of the proposed Bell Canada-Astral Media merger. The report from Boston-based Analysis Group reports that 81.4 per cent of the value of Canada’s TV distribution (cable and satellite) market is controlled by companies that also create content, such as broadcasters and production companies.
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.
Canadian citizens are paying for Internet access, but Big Telecom isn't being completely open about the restrictions that they've been imposing. With new data just published by the Measurement Lab, Canadian service providers such as Bell and Rogers have been exposed as interfering with over 75% of torrent transfers and download speeds. The CRTC confronted Rogers about bandwidth throttling late last year, to which Rogers responded with a promise that they would end interference by the end of this year. Although Bell has made a similar promise to their consumers as well, it doesn't seem like we're seeing any changes just yet. If you've experienced any throttling issues with your provider, tell us about it in the comments below. To make the switch from Big Telecom to an independent ISP, visit our campaign page at http://openmedia.ca/switch. Article by Ernesto at TorrentFreak.com New data published by the Google-backed Measurement Lab gives a unique insight into the BitTorrent throttling practices of ISPs all over the world. In the U.S. and Australia most large ISPs limit less than 10 percent of BitTorrent transfers. In the UK and Canada on the other hand, some providers interfere with up to three-quarters of all BitTorrent traffic.
An $18-billion class-action suit has received the go-ahead to proceed against Canada's Big Telecom companies. What’s the contested litigation? The long-imposed – but often vague – system access fees. Late last month, The Supreme Court of Canada rejected an appeal issued by Bell, Rogers and Telus (among others) that argued against the case. Let's not give them time to regroup and regulate new sets of costs for Canadians - sign the Stop the Squeeze petition ». Article by Jamie Sturgeon for Financial Post An old fee that’s made untold millions for the country’s big cellphone providers may now end up costing them billions, while wireless users everywhere could find a few bucks put back in their pocket. The Supreme Court of Canada has refused an appeal by Rogers Communications Inc., BCE’s Bell Mobility and Telus Corp. and others, who were asking the top court to throw out a case over controversial “system access fees.”
Rogers costumers in fixed-term contracts have no choice but to accept rate hikes or pay steep fees to end their contract. Does this seem fair to you? If you are sick of telecom price-gouging, take action by signing our Stop the Squeeze petition and make the switch to an indy ISP. From CBC News: Some of the conditions that Rogers Communications imposes on customers in fixed-term contracts are legally questionable, according to an expert at the University of Ottawa. At issue is the company's practice of boosting service rates for things such as high-speed internet, home phone and cable TV, leaving some customers in fixed-term contracts in the unenviable position of either accepting the new prices or paying expensive fees to end their contract.
Big Telecoms Rogers and Shaw are lobbying against the so-called 'a la carte' model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual channels. The CRTC also expressed concern over the pick-and-pay system saying that a lack of choice and flexibility could lead to consumers leaving the broadcasting system. Wait - isn't Canadians dropping TV for the more participatory medium of the open Internet a good thing? Why does the CRTC see it as it's job to protect old business models and top-down culture? On the flip side: In the 21st century shouldn't the CRTC's priority be to increase open and affordable access to the Internet? Article by Jamie Sturgeon for Financial Post: TORONTO — BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and Shaw Communications Inc. which together control two-thirds of the $8.3-billion broadcast distribution market, are lobbying against the so-called “a la carte” model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual networks, arguing the change would have disastrous consequences for programmers, such as Bell Media and Shaw Media.