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MEDIA ADVISORY: Telecom complaints soar by 31% in just twelve months, OpenMedia.ca available for comment

Canadians still waiting to see whether government lives up to promise to secure more choice and lower prices in broken telecom market

Steve Anderson, Executive Director, OpenMedia.ca
David Christopher, Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca. (778-232-1858, [email protected])

The Annual Report of Canada’s Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services have revealed that complaints about telecom service in Canada increased by over 31%.

The Commissioner’s office received over 14036 complaints from telecom customers in 2012-13, up from 10,678 in 2011-12 and 7,732 in 2010-11.

60.4% of these complaints regarded wireless service, and 19.4% of complaints were about Internet service.

OpenMedia.ca is Canada’s largest civic engagement organization dealing with telecoms issues. We reached out to Canadians for their Cell Phone Horror Stories and worked with Canadians on a crowd-sourced road map forward for our broken wireless market.

Canada’s wired and wireless market is broken, with just three large conglomerates controlling 92% of wireless market share and 85% of scarce wireless spectrum, resulting in Canadians paying some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for poor service - as confirmed by multiple independent reports.

Registrations for January’s crucial auction of wireless spectrum indicate that the Big Three are set to consolidate their dominance unless the government takes action.

Canadians have set out their own clear road map forward for the future of our wireless market. OpenMedia.ca will be watching closely to see how the government intends to live up to its promises to secure greater telecom choice and lower prices for Canadians.

Over 60,000 Canadians have called on the government to stop big telecom companies from blocking access to affordable, independent providers this year -- with hundreds of thousands speaking out previously.

Canadians want the government to open our wireless networks, and stop the Big Three from blocking Canadians from reaching affordable wireless services. At present affordable Canadian providers such as Toronto-based Ting.com can only operate in the U.S. because the Big Three is blocking Canadians from being able to access them.

Specifically Canadians are looking to see new rules put in place that would enable affordable providers to reach Canadians on the same basis as the Big Three.

Over 35 leading Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators have spoken out to call on the government to prevent the Big Three from blocking independent providers from reaching customers. They say that high cell phone prices are holding back Canadian businesses and stifling job creation and economic development.


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. Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

See this infographic about OpenMedia.ca’s recent work on telecom issues.

The Demand Choice campaign was launched to pressure decision-makers to take action for greater choice and lower prices in Canada’s cell phone 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.

For more information, please contact:

David Christopher
Communications Manager
(778) 232-1858
[email protected]

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet. Take action now

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