With Canada plummeting in Internet world rankings, Canadians tell Minister Moore not to squander our $5.2bn Digital Endowment
Government should invest digital windfall from sale of public spectrum assets into tackling Canada’s national digital deficit and growing digital divide
Canada used to be a global digital leader - but recent independent reports show just how far we have fallen in the global rankings. We’ve plummeted from 2nd place in 2001 to 16th place in 2014 for broadband penetration. On the key metric of upload speeds, Canada is far back in 53rd place, well behind less industrialized nations including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, and Mongolia.
Despite this, Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for their Internet access, because much of the market is dominated by a small handful of high-cost Big Telecom giants.
“Whether it’s dropped Skype calls, Netflix starting-and-stopping, or repeated Big Telecom price-gouging, we’re increasingly falling behind our global counterparts,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Big Telecom’s high prices, slow speeds, and unreliable connections are holding back our country and are undermining the digital economy we rely on for our future prosperity.”
Anderson continued: “Now Minister Moore has a unique opportunity to make things better: he needs to invest our digital windfall from the sale of public spectrum assets into our digital future. This revenue amounts to a $5.2 billion Digital Endowment that could ensure all Canadians have independent, affordable world-class Internet access. These digital assets must be invested back into our networks to connect our communities so we can stop falling behind the rest of the world. We cannot afford to squander these vital funds - Canadians deserve better.”
OpenMedia.ca has worked with thousands of Canadians and leading telecom experts on a crowd-sourced plan for the future of Canada’s Internet. This plan aims to ensure that all Canadians can access affordable, high-speed, world-class Internet from independent providers.. OpenMedia.ca has also facilitated over 25,000 Canadians’ participation in a crucial CRTC consultation on the future of the Internet.
Canadians are speaking out to tell Minister Moore not to squander our $5.2 billion Digital Endowment at https://OpenMedia.ca/Endowment
OpenMedia.ca is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.
The Demand Choice campaign was launched to pressure decision-makers to take action for greater choice and lower prices in Canada’s telecom market. Early in 2012 OpenMedia.ca launched a campaign decrying the price-gouging poor customer service and lack of choice in the cell phone market at StopTheSqueeze.ca.
OpenMedia.ca then highlighted Canadians’ Cell Phone Horror Stories in a crowdsourced submission to the CRTC, and released a citizen-driven report entitled ‘Time for an Upgrade’ detailing their findings and recommendations.
This citizen pressure resulted in a broadly positive new set of customer-friendly rules for wireless companies – national rules that reign in punitive three-year contracts, make it easier to switch to a new affordable provider, and impose caps on data roaming fees.
The Big Three cell phone providers recently unleashed an expensive PR campaign to mislead cell phone users. Canadians took to the Internet to ridicule and debunk the Big Three’s claims in a wide variety of ways - speaking out on reddit and on Facebook, and even creating parody websites, parody videos on YouTube and parody accounts on Twitter. We’ve also seen citizen-produced op-eds appear in newspapers across the country, taking the Big Three to task for their years of terrible customer service.
Over 60,000 Canadians have now participated in the Demand Choice campaign, with more standing up for wireless choice and affordability every day.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
- Telecom Notice of Consultation 2013-551-1 - Source: CRTC
- OpenMedia.ca: Concerned Canadian reveals Bell’s anti-competitive practices: https://openmedia.ca/news/concerned-canadian-reveals-bell%E2%80%99s-anti-competitive-practices-1
- Ben Klass complaint to CRTC (PDF)
- Crossing the Line - Ben Klass explains why he's taking Bell to the CRTC
- See the infographic showing how half-a-million Canadians spoke out against telecom price-gouging: https://openmedia.ca/sites/openmedia.ca/files/Tariffs_Timeline_111212_0.png
- OpenMedia fought for and won Open Internet rules that should prevent Big Telecom discriminating against competing services. We even flew in some of the original architects of the Internet to the CRTC hearing.
- CRTC report shows Internet openness complaints went up in 2012 - see this media advisory.
- OpenMedia.ca’s crowdsourced Casting an Open Net Plan calls for net neutrality audits and penalties for companies in breach of net neutrality.
- CRTC will rescind ‘unlimited use’ Internet decision – or Ottawa will overturn it. Source: The Globe and Mail
- OpenMedia.ca: Regulators pull back from usage-based billing after half-a-million Canadians speak out
- "If using the Rogers 3G or LTE network, for only $5/month, customers can enjoy 10 hours of viewing on their device" (This means non-Rogers content is unfairly more expensive than Rogers-owned content.) Source: Google Play