Like millions of other cell phone users, I've had to suffer the trials and tribulations of my phone company's customer service or what might more accurately be called their customer disservice. It all started with a text message to my daughter Sarah's phone informing her that she had reached 100 per cent usage for our shared 3 GB data plan.
you may not live in the U.S., but many of your favourite websites do. In the end, rules that impact those sites will eventually impact you. And as countries around the world continue to contemplate net neutrality rules, it will be important to show the leadership of Canada's CRTC, the United States' FCC, and others to urge policy-makers around the globe to follow suit.
If you're an enormous telecom conglomerate, and you release a new app to unfavourable ratings, what do you do? You could invest some of your vast resources into listening to customers and making the app better -- or you could get your senior managers to leave fake reviews to mislead customers and fluff up your ratings instead.
A company can still offer three-year deals if it wants to, but they are no longer permitted to enforce those deals with cancellation fees. They would be three-year deals in name only, therefore no company offers them, and consumers have fewer options than they did before. One result of this regulatory change: higher up-front prices for your new phone.
Mr. Moore, Mr. Harper, Mr. Blais, we have given the large carriers our trust. And they have abused it. It's now up to you -- we need you to work together to ensure that our networks are open to content producers, to innovative service providers, and most of all, to ordinary Canadian citizens. We need more than tweets, more than press releases and pamphlets. We are asking for a firm commitment to ensure that the large network operators will no longer be artificially favoured over upstart innovators and competitors, a commitment to providing Canadians with a bright and lasting digital future.
Will the government cave under this pressure? We're hoping they won't -- after all, they've made a clear promise to Canadians to lower prices, a promise underlined personally by Prime Minister Harper at his party's convention last fall. We intend to hold the government to its promises. But already there are worrying signs, with Industry Minister Moore seemingly changing his tune.
One of the things we at OpenMedia.ca have been calling for is for wireless companies like Ting to be able to reach Canadians just like indie ISPs like Distributel, Acanac, Start or Teksavvy, just to name a few, do for wired Internet. At the moment Canadians are blocked by the Big Three from using Ting, which I think is wrong.
As of yesterday, our hard-won new cell phone customer protection rules go into effect for all new cell phone contracts/sales. The new rules, which were announced by the CRTC (Canada's telecom policy-maker) in June, apply right across Canada, so cell phone users from coast to coast to coast will benefit. These new cell phone customer protection rules will not be enough to rein in Canada's Big Telecom giants, but this is a step in the right direction.
Because Canadians spoke out and demanded change we've forced decision-makers to sit up and take notice. All Canadians will benefit from the federal rules introduced in June, and residents of Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia can also now rely on strong provincial legislation to protect their customer rights.
We have just received word that the federal Court of Appeal has officially granted Big Telecom permission to take Canada to court over new customer-friendly rules laid out in June by the CRTC. This means that Canada's three Big Telecom giants will appear before one of our highest courts and attempt to overturn important parts of the CRTC's new rules for your cell phone service.
Here's a crazy idea when it comes to wireless roaming: how about Canadians being able to use their one and only cellphones with the same single numbers in whatever countries they want at a reasonable cost without having to jump through all kinds of hoops? No one is expecting to use them for the same price as at home, but not paying through the teeth for the privilege would be nice.
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. It's heartening to see the government finally starting to reflect what Canadians have been saying for a long time now.