OpenMedia.ca pleased as CRTC take steps to ease Big Telecom’s grip on affordable Internet options
CRTC responds to Canadians after big telecom companies attempt a “backdoor price hike” using their control of digital infrastructure
February 21, 2013 – The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released a decision today that could bring more affordable choices to Canada’s Internet service market. The decision responds to a grassroots movement of Canadians who believe big telecom companies have placed hidden fees on independent Internet service providers (ISPs) and made telecom bills more expensive for users across the country.
Overall, today’s CRTC decision appears to take small steps towards reining in those fees, bringing telecom costing closer to reality. This could give independent Internet service provider greater cost certainty and flexibility to offer Canadians more desirable and affordable rates.
OpenMedia.ca is hopeful this decision will help independent ISPs provide affordable telecom options on a more level playing field, but it is clear that much more is needed to fix Canada’s dysfuntional telecom market.
“Canadians know that allowing a few Big Telecom companies control over 90% of the Internet access market is bad for our country. This decision is a small step in the right direction, but now we need bold action from policymakers to empower affordable choices for Canadians and make our country a leader in digital services again. The cat’s out of the bag, and now it’s time to fix our broken telecom market,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson.
The CRTC decision is the result of Canadians demanding more choice through OpenMedia.ca’s famous half-a-million-strong StopTheMeter.ca campaign (see the infographic for the largest online campaign in Canada’s history here), and its follow-up campaign at http://PriceHike.ca.
The groundwork for the CRTC’s latest move was laid in October 2012, when the CRTC decided that Big Telecom would have to reveal more of its costing process—which is used to establish infrastructure access rates for independent Internet service providers like Distributel and Teksavvy.
In anticipation of this decision, both Bell and Rogers began offering unlimited Internet options earlier this week. According to Anderson, “Recent moves by Bell and Rogers to offer unlimited services clearly show that more choice benefits Canadians, as Big Telecom is increasingly forced to stop stifling access and innovation through artificial limitations and price-gouging.
“The backdoor price hike Big Telecom tried to impose on Canadians would have been bad for our economy, bad for our family budgets, and just bad for our country.”
Canadians can pledge to make the switch away from Big Telecom, and show support for independent providers at http://openmedia.ca/switch.
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards 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.
See the inforgraphic showing how half-a-million Canadians spoke out against telecom price-gouging: https://openmedia.ca/sites/openmedia.ca/files/Tariffs_Timeline_111212_0.png
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
- Press release: CRTC pushes Big Telecom to be more transparent, to set the stage for more choice for Canadians (October 26, 2012)
- Blog: Affordability and transparency in the aftermath of the StopTheMeter.ca campaign (June 12, 2012)
- Infographic: StopTheMeter.ca Timeline (December 12, 2011)