Anything that has a market should be allowed to remain in business. But that's the problem: Sun News doesn't have a market even though, contrary to the misinformation peddled by the broadcaster, it is literally available to any Canadian who's willing to subscribe to a cable or satellite service that carries the channel
Bell is pursuing an outdated business model that reduces customer choice, forces subscribers to pay for content they don't want, and banks millions in taxpayer-funded subsidies. It seems that Bell's priority is getting as much money out of Canadians as possible, without any consideration of what citizens actually want.
Let's start with an experiment. Take 10 seconds to write down as many Canadian films as you can. Ok, so how many did you come up with? "Not many" is the answer I received when asking the question to random folks.
Matt Buie, a financial planner and father living in Burnaby, B.C., was recently stunned by a $22,000 roaming charge on his cell phone account incurred by his 11-year-old while on vacation. After Buie spoke out in the media and talked to other cell phone users he quickly realized that he was not alone in feeling price-gouged, and is now taking action.
Tuesday marks the opening of another critical public hearing at the CRTC. It will be considering applications to expand the mandatory distribution of channels on the basic TV service. But, bottom line, if our own federal government refuses to kick in a few more million a year to show just how important Canadian culture is, then why should the rest of us?
While we still have a ways to go before the Internet service market offers Canadians the level of choice and affordability we deserve and what we need to at least become globally competitive, the coming together of the pro-Internet community to create real, tangible change is nothing to sneeze at.
The Big Three cell phone providers now have even more room to raise prices and maintain disrespectful customer service, as the check on the market provided by new entrants diminishes. This is why Canadians pay some of the highest prices for mobile phone service in the industrialized world.
Anyone who's ever spent more than 5 minutes reading my blog knows I've spilt a phenomenal amount of ink over the miserable state of broadband in Can...
I've been gathering reactions to last week's CRTC decisions on wholesale rates for Internet access. My takeaway is a lot of people are having trouble understanding what the hell it all means. So in this series of posts I'm going to provide some plain-language context.
A CRTC hearing took place last week, where a draft code of conduct to protect cell phone users was broken down, debated, and negotiated. Up for discussion were contract length, automatic renewals, notifications of overages, caps on fees, device unlocking, and much much more. Now if you think a week of telecom hearings would be dull, you'd be dead wrong. There's a lot at stake as Canada falls behind the rest of the industrialized world in many things digital. After years of being lobbied by big telecom and all but shutting citizens out, policymakers are just starting to take note of the problems Canadians are facing.
The end of price-gouging, restrictive agreements, and disrespectful customer service will come only when all key decision makers -- not just the CRTC, but also Industry Canada, the Competition Bureau, and even MPs -- realize that Big Telecom's control over Canada's digital future has gone too far.
There's currently a proposal for a new Canadian TV specialty channel -- Starlight TV. Its mandate would be simple: to show Canadian movies. So there are a lot of admirable reasons to support the idea of Starlight. But there are also problems.
Sun TV News, which previously disavowed mandatory distribution by likening it to a tax on all cable and satellite subscribers, now wants the CRTC to require those subscribers to pay it 18 cents per month until 2017. There are few, if any, broadcasters that can be considered so essential as to merit mandatory distribution.
As a supporter of diversity in (news) media, and sometime collaborator with Sun News Network, it pains me to write this, but I don't think that the CRTC should give in to this application for mandatory carriage. If it wants to have a shot at greater viewership, Sun News will have to look closely at what it means to be conservative in Canada, and then adapt its style accordingly.
Last time, I took the Commission to task for trying to build excitement over the level of cellphone penetration in Canada in their consultation video. Why? Because the only metric that really counts in 2012 is the takeup of smartphones: smartphones do data, feature phones don't. Let's consider penetration in a more meaningful context.
Back in the summer of 2010, the CRTC decided to get the public's input online as part of its proceeding on the "obligation to serve." Big mistake. There's a habit that's getting entrenched at the Commission: treating online consultations as a substitute for both educating Canadian consumers and conducting real research.