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About Time the Government Listened Up on Telecom Policy

08/28/2013 05:16 EDT | Updated 10/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Canadians have been speaking out for wireless choice and affordability for years now and, after years of telecommunications policy neglect, it looks like the government is finally starting to listen.

Industry Minister James Moore has embarked on a nationwide tour to defend his government's policies in response to Big Telecom's recent expensive and misleading PR campaign.

Minister Moore is making it clear that, despite the pressure from Big Telecom, his government will not shift its policy of encouraging more choice in our wireless market. Referring to Canada's Big Three cell phone giants, he said:

"These large companies have very high profits, the highest profits in the OECD at the same time Canadian consumers are paying some of the highest cellphone rates in the OECD. I think we can do better than that as a country."

It's heartening to see the government finally starting to reflect what Canadians have been saying for a long time now: that it's ridiculous we pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world while our telecom giants make such enormous profits.

Minister Moore has also been making encouraging noises about the longer-term future of our wireless market -- stating that while the Big Three are fixated on Verizon, the government is focused on ensuring more choice in the marketplace regardless of any foreign investment.

These positive steps go to show what we at OpenMedia.ca have known for years: When citizens stand together and demand change, decision-makers sit up and take notice.

That's why it's now more important than ever to keep up the pressure and ensure decision-makers listen to our demand for a lasting, sustainable solution for our broken wireless market. Canadians know that by far the best way to achieve long-term wireless choice and affordability is to open up our networks to independent Canadian service providers.

Opening our networks means splitting apart the network infrastructure from the monopolistic Big Three telecom giants -- enabling all wireless providers, regardless of their size, to operate on a level playing field. This would allow innovative Canadian providers like Toronto-based Tucows to offer the same affordable services here in Canada as they currently do in the U.S. -- at present they are prevented from doing so due to the monopolistic practices of the Big Three.

We've seen positive steps from the government but, to date, they've yet to embrace the next logical step forward -- open networks. It's so important that we keep speaking out and ensure decision-makers listen to what Canadians want. We've a bunch of ways you can pitch in:

Keep speaking up, Canada!

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