OpenMedia takes detailed input from 30,000 Canadians to crucial CRTC hearing that will decide future of Internet access in Canada
“If you use the Internet, this hearing will directly affect you,” says OpenMedia.ca’s campaign manager Josh Tabish, who will co-present alongside community engagement volunteer Cynthia Khoo. “The stakes just couldn’t be higher - much-needed indie ISPs could be forced out of business if the CRTC ignores Canadians and sides with the telecom giants. We know the large telecom conglomerates are throwing everything at this - they’ll jump at the chance to trap Canadians into their expensive plans by shutting down independent alternatives.”
Tabish added: “Our presentation today reflects the views of over 30,000 Canadians who want the CRTC to do the right thing. For years Canadians have expressed their need for a greater variety of independent affordable Internet options. Right now we pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world and, when it comes to fibre Internet, we just have no options outside the telecom giants. That’s got to change for Canada to catch up with our global counterparts.”
OpenMedia’s detailed written submission (PDF) makes the following recommendations:
We need rules to ensure all Canadians can access a range of affordable, independent options for Internet services.
We should improve access to ultra-fast fibre Internet by ensuring that Canadians aren’t forced into choosing a Big Telecom provider to obtain fibre Internet access.
We need to lower prices and improve choice by splitting off Internet infrastructure off from Big Telecom companies to level the playing field.
The CRTC should put the interests of everyday Canadians ahead of the narrow interests of Big Telecom lobbyists.
Big Telecom already controls 92% of the Internet market - Canadians want more choice and independent alternatives.
The CRTC’s recent annual Communications Monitoring Report confirms that Canadians have been hit with a year-to-year increase of 3.7% in costs for Internet services, while inflation was at 0.9%. This reinforces a recent StatsCan finding that showed telecom price increases are vastly outpacing the increasing costs of living in Canada.
OpenMedia.ca has laid out crowdsourced policy plans for both wired and wireless telecom service that aim to ensure Canada can catch up to its global counterparts. Canadians are speaking out to call on the CRTC to listen to citizens instead of Big Telecom lobbyists at https://openmedia.ca/Powergrab
OpenMedia.ca is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
About OpenMedia’s telecom campaigns
OpenMedia.ca has campaigned for years for action to improve 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.
Recent examples of unfair practices by Canada’s telecom giants include:
Suing the government for passing positive customer protection rules.
Blocking Canadian wireless provider Ting from being able to offer affordable services in Canada.
Unleashing a massive misleading PR campaign against greater wireless choice
Engaging in “unjust discrimination” against independent provider Wind Mobile.
Bell’s court challenge against new cellphone roaming and tower-sharing rules to improve choice for Canadians.
CRTC Media Release, July 31: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=872099
In 2007 the Conservative government made a promise to reserve key spectrum assets for new entrants. Source: Reuters
The Conservative government’s 2011 platform promised “to increase competition and choice and to lower costs for wireless consumers”. Source: Conservative Party 2011 Platform, page 15
For an explanation of why your high cell phone bill has nothing to do with Canada's size, check out this article by OpenMedia.ca's Catherine Hart.
Industry Canada clearly stated that only "new entrants" were eligible for the AWS wireless spectrum set aside in 2008. Industry Canada further stated that “changes made after the application deadline which create an Association with another applicant are not permitted, and any applicant who has formed such an Association will be disqualified from participating in the auction.” Source: Industry Canada
Canada’s wireless industry is overwhelmingly dominated by Bell, Telus, and Rogers. Source:The Globe and Mail
Recent independent reports confirm that Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for cell phone service. Source: OECD 2013 Communications Outlook
Background on Spectrum. Source: Public Interest Advocacy Centre