Press release

Confirmed: Shaw rings in 2015 by charging higher prices for slower Internet

January 6, 2015 – Shaw today confirmed that it will be charging higher prices for slower Internet in 2015. Concerned Internet users warned of these price hikes back in December and confirmation today has sparked outrage online. The changes mean that new customers will need to choose between getting slower Internet speeds, or paying more for a faster service.

For example, where $60 a month purchased a 25 Mbps service in 2014, it will purchase just a 15 Mbps service in 2015 - a drop in speed of 40%. Existing customers will also experience steep 10% price hikes - or five times the rate of inflation. Responding to the news, OpenMedia’s Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

“Canadians hoping to keep a lid on their household expenses as one of their New Year’s resolutions are in for a shock. When the rumour first broke, Shaw assured us that that this was all a big misunderstanding. Well the proof is in the pudding – and today Shaw served up some pretty expensive pudding. And, if history is any indication, others like Bell, Rogers, and Telus will soon follow. ”  

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James Moore spectrum announcement hailed as a positive step forward to enable greater wireless choice and lower prices

In response to outcry for Canadians, Industry Canada has taken steps to ensure Canadians have greater access to affordable, independent wireless providers

December 18, 2014 – Industry Minister James Moore has announced new measures aimed at improving wireless service for Canadians. OpenMedia welcomes the announcement, which will reserve a larger section of valuable wireless spectrum for new, independent, affordable providers than ever before. The changes aim to increase the amount of spectrum available to  independent providers from around 15% currently to nearly 25% by May 2015.

The decision comes in response to OpenMedia’s crowdsourced set of recommendations (here and here) in the Time For an Upgrade report. Over 60,000 Canadians, along with leading businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs, have joined a call for more affordable cell phone service and for spectrum to liberated from the big three in the Demand Choice campaign. Canadians currently pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for wireless service.

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Advocates celebrate new powers by oversight bodies to impose financial penalties on telecom companies that break the rules

Following years-long campaign, CRTC is now empowered to levy financial penalties against telecom providers who mistreat customers

December 17, 2014 – This morning’s announcement of new powers allowing the CRTC to impose financial penalties against companies caught violating the Telecommunications Act comes in response to a key request made by OpenMedia in its crowdsourced Casting An Open Internet action plan. The plan called on government to “permit the CRTC to levy administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) that can be used to enforce transparency requirements and regulations.”

OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say about the announcement:

“We are pleased to see the government has granted overseers at the CRTC enforcement powers to ensure telecom companies who break the rules are penalized. We’re thrilled that James Moore has responded to another of the ten major policy asks we put forward when he first became Industry Minister. These new powers are a great response to hundreds of thousands of Canadians who participated in our crowdsourced policy plans for wired and mobile Internet in Canada.”

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Revealed: Holiday pricing change from Shaw means 10% higher fees and 40% slower Internet service

December 16, 2014 – Shaw Communications is reportedly raising Internet prices by 10% and slashing Internet speeds by up to 40-50% for many customers beginning in January. Multiple Shaw representatives have confirmed this change to concerned Internet users. OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say regarding the news:

“Canadian Internet users everywhere ought to be outraged that Big Telecom giants like Shaw are trying to charge customers more money for slower Internet. Make no mistake: if Shaw gets away with this, others like Bell, Rogers, and Telus will soon follow. Canadians are already paying some of the highest prices in the world for what many know is horrible service. Shaw should stop being such a grinch and immediately reverse these service cuts and price-hikes.”

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Topics: Affordability

Local tech leaders launch #StepUp4Net fundraising campaign for digital rights organization OpenMedia

Fundraising drive challenges tech community to step up and defend the free and open Internet with matching donations up to $50,000

December 11, 2014:  Leaders from the Vancouver tech community have launched a year-end fundraising #StepUp4Net campaign challenging people from the tech and business community to donate to non-profit digital rights organization OpenMedia.

The campaign can be found at: https://OpenMedia.org/StepUp

Several organizations have agreed to provide matching funds of up to $50,000.

“Everyone has benefited from the expression, innovation, and business opportunities enabled by the open Internet,” said OpenMedia.org Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Sadly, the Internet as we know it is increasingly under threat. I'm grateful that leaders in the tech community have been generous enough to encourage support for our non-profit work.”

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Supreme Court ruling permitting warrantless cell phone searches underlines need for much stronger legal privacy safeguards, says OpenMedia.ca

December 11, 2014: This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled narrowly that police are permitted to conduct warrantless cell phone searches of people they arrest. Community-based OpenMedia, which has rallied a large pro-privacy coalition of over 60 organizations, says the ruling reinforces the need for much stronger legal protections to safeguard the privacy of Canadians.

“Sadly, today’s ruling looks like a real setback for the privacy of Canadians,” said OpenMedia.ca’s communications manager David Christopher. “Our cell phones often store huge amounts of deeply revealing information about our private lives. Cell phone searches can be even more revealing than a police officer coming into somebody’s home and searching through their personal materials, which has long required a warrant. It’s very disappointing that the Supreme Court, albeit narrowly, decided to permit such intrusive warrantless searches.”

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Topics: Online Spying

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