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Regulators find that Telecoms have engaged in systematic “unjust discrimination” to stifle indie providers and keep prices high

CRTC decision exposes how Big Telecom giant Rogers engaged in “unjust discrimination” aimed at blocking Canadians from accessing affordable, independent wireless options

Responding to the announcement, OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson said: “This proves what Canadians have known all along - that Big Three cellphone giants are unfairly rigging the market to limit choice and keep prices artificially high. These unfair practices show that more affordable independent providers have been boxing with one hand tied behind their back. We need action to prevent the Big Three from unfairly blocking Canadians from the affordable, independent options they deserve.”

Anderson continued: “To lower prices for Canadians we need a level playing field for all providers, large and small. Now Industry Minister Moore and the CRTC need to take the logical next step and consider fully opening the networks, by splitting them from the telecom giants. That’s the common sense solution to lower prices for all Canadians, and prevent these types of abuses once and for all. It’s time to hit the refresh button on our broken cellphone market.”

The announcement from the CRTC comes on the heels of revelations from Wind Mobile that the telecom giants have long been overcharging independent providers by up to 1000 percent over what U.S. mobile providers are charging. For example, Rogers charges Wind a ridiculous $1000 per GB of data. Worse, new price caps mandated by Industry Canada still remain 3.5 times higher than what independent providers are being charged by U.S. firms. Wholesale wireless roaming rates have typically been closely-guarded industry secrets, and today’s CRTC decision confirms why.

Canada’s Big Three recently raised their already-high prices by a hefty $5 a month, sparking outrage from Canadians tired of having no alternative to Big Telecom.

Over 70,000 Canadians have spoken out to call for lower prices and greater telecom choice using OpenMedia.ca’s online tools at https://OpenMedia.ca/gatekeepers and http://DemandChoice.ca

About OpenMedia.ca

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.

About the Demand Choice campaign

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.



David Christopher
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
[email protected]

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