By Josh Tabish
March 18, 2014
OpenMedia original article
Wireless price-hikes! OK who’s running the show here: Big Telecom or the government?
In February, Industry Minister James Moore announced that the government has heard our voices, and promised that everyday Canadians would soon experience lower costs and greater choice in our broken mobile phone and Internet market.
In March, less than a month later, Canada’s Big Telecom cartel jacks up prices across all providers, with little difference between the prices and services they offer.
As Peter Nowak rightly points out, “...it’s hard to figure out which department to file this one under: it could go under ‘Are You &$%$# Kidding Me?’ or ‘Oligopoly 101,’ but it most likely qualifies for ‘Digging Our Own Graves.’ ”
So, James Moore promises greater choice and affordability, and then, weeks later, Canada’s Big Telecom players turn around and stick it to Canadians with an unexpected (and, apparently, coincidental) price hike across all the major players. And, not to belabour the point, but even Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to address the high-costs of mobile phone and Internet.
At this point, Canadians everywhere might be wondering: who’s running the show here? Big Telecom? Or the government?
You might also be wondering: Why has Big Telecom done this? Well, because they can. Canada’s Big Three providers control 93% of the market. And we know that monopolies breed arrogance. But this move reveals more than just the arrogance of Canada’s telecom giants – it’s a classic example of the failures of government inaction.
As we’ve said elsewhere, the government’s half-measured attempts to fix our broken telecom market do not go far enough, and nowhere is the evidence of their inaction more apparent than in this week’s price-hike news. The nearsightedness of Minister Moore’s strategy is baffling. It’s not like we couldn’t see this coming. Even the Competition Bureau in a submission to the CRTC warned the Big Three were so powerful there was a “risk of coordinated interaction” in the wireless market.
The solution your OpenMedia team has been championing for some time is a straightforward one: open up Canada’s networks and let new independent providers – you know, the ones with the lower prices and better options – have fair, cost-based access to the wireless systems that exist in Canada. This is the only way they’ll have the ability to succeed.
Right now, this is the only reasonable step for Canada’s mobile phone and Internet market. And, as we’ve clearly seen, the promise of anything less from our government isn’t going to cut it. Canadians have been shouldering the dead weight of Big Telecom’s arrogance and monopoly for long enough. It’s time to open our networks for authentic choice.
Please let Minister Moore know where you stand. Open up our networks for authentic choice and lower prices at OpenMedia.ca/Gatekeepers.
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