Media Advisory: Historic Hearing on Cell Phone Service Closes with Big Telecom Digging in Heels; OpenMedia.ca Available for Comment

Public interest group faced off against Big Three at week-long CRTC hearing

WHO:
Lindsey Pinto, Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca

WHAT:
Canadians are hopeful that a CRTC hearing this week will lead to the development of a Code of Conduct that ensures better deals for cell phones.

Public interest and consumer groups, academics, independent providers, and individuals appeared before the CRTC from Monday to Friday, pushing for measures that could safeguard against price-gouging and lead to more innovation and choice. However Canada’s “Big Three” telecom companies—Bell, Rogers, and Telus—which control nearly 94% of the market, also appeared, but were unwilling to take many of the steps that would fix what CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais called a market that “is not working”.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) contradicted the CRTC Chair and stories submitted by Canadians by suggesting that Canadians have “healthy” relationships with big cell phone providers.

OpenMedia.ca’s Lindsey Pinto attended and presented at the hearing, and live-tweeted throughout the week. Pinto drew upon submissions from the grassroots Cell Phone Horror Story campaign in an effort to illustrate the need for the Code to be public interest oriented.

Pinto also argued that the Code should be evidence-based, “meaning that it must be grounded in the lived realities of Canadians, as a broken wireless market has real human consequences.”

It remains to be seen whether the CRTC will bow to the pressure from industry lobbyists, or develop a Code that will help remedy Canada’s digital deficit.

WHEN:
We are able to comment at any time.
The hearing began Monday, February 11, and will close at end of day Friday, February 15.

BACKGROUND:

OpenMedia.ca is a non-profit 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.

The CRTC’s public proceeding on national rules for wireless services was announced on October 11, 2012. Since then, the OpenMedia.ca campaign at http://CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca has been giving citizens an easy way to make the CRTC aware of the real human consequences of our broken cell phone market. OpenMedia.ca highlighted Canadians’ stories in their crowdsourced submission to the CRTC.

The public hearing began Monday, February 11, and will close at end of day Friday, February 15, in Gatineau, QC.

CONTACT:
Lindsey Pinto – 778.238.7710 – lindsey@openmedia.ca
Steve Anderson – 604.837.5730 – steve@openmedia.ca

Details can also be found at http://openmedia.ca and at http://CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca.

Topics: Cell Phones

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