Affordability

Are Rogers and Fido planning to make competing mobile services more expensive for Canadians?

Your OpenMedia team recently got wind of new plans afoot by Rogers’ subsidiary Fido to make competing apps and services more expensive over their mobile networks, and it’s certainly cause for concern.

Based on a recent article from Mobile Syrup, it appears that the carrier intends to create unfair incentives for customers that privilege certain services–their own–over others, violating the principle of net neutrality. Mobile Syrup reports:

New customers will be shifting towards a loyalty-based membership program focused on rewards like credit towards streaming music and a certain allotment of video streaming (with a heavy emphasis on Rogers’ Vice Media partnership).


Bell president Kevin Crull should resign after being caught censoring CTV news coverage

Bell president Kevin Crull should resign after being caught censoring CTV news coverage

March 25, 2015Responding to reports that Bell directly interfered with CTV News coverage of CRTC decisions promising Canadians more affordable and flexibility in telecom options, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had said this to say:

“Sadly, we’re concerned with repeated reports that Bell’s President Kevin Crull is bullying his company’s news outlets into burying stories crucial to Canadians. Ordering staff to ban CRTC Chair Jean Pierre Blais from the airwaves is embarrassment to the country. Kevin Crull should resign immediately in order to restore Canadians’ confidence in the integrity and impartiality of CTV and other Bell-owned news broadcasts.”

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Topics: Affordability

In win for customers, Federal Court of Appeal denies Bell Mobility’s request to continue controversial Mobile TV service until court case is resolved

Court rules that Bell must stop discriminating against competing apps and services as per CRTC order, allowing other content providers to operate on a level playing field.

March 23, 2015The Federal Court of Appeal today dismissed Bell Mobility’s request to continue offering their controversial Mobile TV service while they appeal a recent CRTC decision that found the company to be unlawfully making competing mobile video apps and services more expensive. The Court said that "Bell has not established that it will suffer irreparable harm” if the Mobile TV service is banned until the appeal is resolved.

In January, the CRTC forced companies like Bell to stop exempting their own services from monthly data caps. Bell was caught marking up competing video services by up to 800%. While the company was given until April 29 to comply, Bell announced they would appeal the decision. The Court is currently deciding whether they’ll hear the case, and today’s announcement means that Bell cannot continue the practice in the interim.

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Topics: Affordability

New Pick-and-Pay rules will mean added flexibility, but still forces Canadians to pay for Big Telecom channels they don’t want

Canadians will be able to pick and choose which TV channels they want to purchase, beyond a slimmed-down basic package. However, the new rules won’t come fully into force until December 2016.

March 19, 2015 - Relief is in sight for Canadians fed up of paying for dozens of TV channels they never watch. New rules announced by the CRTC today mean Canadians will soon be able to pick and choose which TV channels they want to pay for. OpenMedia, which crowdsourced ideas from 30,000 people in a report provided to the CRTC last fall, says the new rules are a welcome step forward, but that the CRTC should have gone further.

Participants in OpenMedia’s crowdsourcing process asked for the basic package to only include publicly-funded media, such as CBC, APTN, and accessibility channels. Instead, the CRTC’s plan will still force all TV subscribers to pay for a number of channels owned by vertically-integrated telecom giants, including CTV, Global, and City TV. Because of this, the new ‘basic’ package will cost $25 a month, more than what many Canadians were hoping for.

“These new rules are a big step in the right direction, although it’s a pity the CRTC is still giving preferential access to the telecom giants,” said OpenMedia campaign manager Josh Tabish. “Nobody should be forced to subsidize outdated Big Telecom TV services in order to access publicly-funded media. That’s why more and more people are cutting the cord and turning to the Internet to access content flexibly.”

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Topics: Affordability

Expert Report reveals which telecom companies have your back when it comes to being transparent about protecting privacy

Report provides Canadians with an at-a-glance tool to rate their Internet provider’s transparency around privacy safeguards. Indie ISP Teksavvy “stands out” as the best of the 10 major retailers measured.

March 12, 2015A report published this morning has revealed that Canadian Internet providers are still falling short when it comes to being transparent about how they protect their customers’ privacy. The report found that all telecom companies need to do more to keep customers informed about how they safeguard privacy. Independent ISP Teksavvy performed best of the 10 major retailers, with telecom giant Shaw and Quebec-based Videotron languishing at the bottom.

The report, entitled Keeping Internet Users in the Know or in the Dark?, is released by IXmaps.ca and New Transparency Projects as part of a project spearheaded by Prof. Andrew Clement at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto and Dr. Jonathan Obar, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, with the assistance of a group of law students at UofT. They examined the data privacy transparency policies of 43 large and small companies that provide internet services to Canadians. Some of these companies are well-known Canadian Internet retailers, while others, some operating from the U.S. and elsewhere, work behind the scenes to route Canadian Internet traffic.

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Hope Springs Municipal: How small towns are driving Canada's digital future

This piece originally appeared in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor

“If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” 

In a bold take on this adage, more and more municipalities across Canada have taken it upon themselves to ensure affordable, citywide Internet access through community-based networks known as municipal broadband, typically operated by local governments, public utilities, co-operatives, non-profits or public-private partnerships. Recent developments in the United States highlight their significance and potential role in galvanizing Canada's otherwise lacklustre digital policy.

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Topics: Affordability

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