The government is on the defensive. Since OpenMedia.ca released our community-powered report on Canada's cell phone market, Canadians have been sending it to their MPs, calling for their support. But the Conservatives are trying to work their positive spin, supporting Big Telecom and saying that everything is just fine. We've decided to address their claims point by point, so that it's clear that bold action is necessary to improve Canada's cell phone market. If the Conservatives are serious about ending price-gouging, and ensuring that Canadians have real choice, fairer contracts, and reliable service, they must do more to facilitate new independent service providers.
Simply by reading this, there could be a cheque with your name on it in the amount of $8,870 or more -- this year, next year and every year thereafter. Where do these huge savings come from? From simple, common sense things like price matching online, buying online, digital coupons, or finding cheap or free ways to solve problems. The average Internet connected family frees up thousands of dollars without giving up anything at all.
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.
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.
Some wonder why it's a good thing that the likes of Wind can now be bought by foreign entities. Simply put, it's better than the alternative -- the smaller companies are having a hell of a time competing against the big guys. It's trendy to bash the government as being pro-big business, but in the past week that hasn't been the case.
The government unveiled its plans yesterday for the next spectrum auction but it remains too timid in places. The reliance on spectrum caps is reasonable, but the foreign ownership restriction changes do not go far enough and the decision to forego mandated open access is a blow to Canada's still-missing digital economy strategy.
The Liberal Party's industry critic has thrown his weight behind a new campaign to force open the doors of Canada’s cellphone industry to greater co...