Government Takes Half-Measured Approach to Crucial Cell Phone Decision
Large companies like Telus, on the other hand, have been lobbying the government for a system involving caps.
Not unlike Telus’ request, Paradis announced today that he would cap how much spectrum incumbents telecom companies can purchase.
OpenMedia.ca is, however, pleased that there will be a use-it-or-lose it clause, which means that wireless carriers cannot simply hoard spectrum without using it to bring service to Canadians. The group is also celebrating provisions that will assist with rural and remote wireless penetration.
“Capping access is better than no provisions at all, but it falls far short of ensuring a level playing field for the cell phone market,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Big telecom companies are still basically the ones regulating our phones and Internet, services and this decision is a clear missed opportunity to bring more telecom choice and affordability to Canadians. Canadians were looking for a bold step in the right direction and they didn't get it.”
“This decision could have been worse, but if prices do not begin to come down Canadians will know who to blame.”
The government unfortunately not taken into account the weight of the nearly 63,000 Canadians who came together to sign the Stop the Squeeze petition. The government is also ignoring opposition parties the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party, which both announced their support for spectrum set-asides earlier this year.
Currently the Big Three—Bell, Rogers and Telus—control upwards of 96% of the cell phone market, and studies say that Canadians pay some of the highest cell phone fees in the industrialized world.
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group's primary goal is to increase informed participation in Internet governance.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca