OpenMedia Says Minister’s Inaction Will Cause ‘Collapse’ of Telecom Competition in Canada

OpenMedia is calling on Innovation, Science, and Industry (ISED) Minister François-Philippe Champagne to take immediate steps to halt the rapid decline of Internet competition in Canada, with the non-profit saying “Internet choice and affordability in Canada approaches breaking point.”

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Even though the federal government announced a new telecommunications policy direction for the CRTC in May, competition and pricing in Canada’s telecom market continue to deteriorate.

During the past 6 months, Bell announced plans to buy independent Internet service provider Distributel, Québecor purchased VMedia, and Rogers’ plan to buy out Shaw is also under regulatory review.

“We’re seeing the rapid extinction of even the small amount of competition that existed in our telecom market,” said OpenMedia Campaigns Director Matt Hatfield. “That fact should scare Minister Champagne.”

“Lowering Canada’s sky-high Internet bills — some of the most expensive in the world — can only be accomplished through adding competitors in the market, and making it possible for the few competitors we already have to stay in business.” continued Hatfield.

“But at every turn, Minister Champagne and his predecessors have systematically refused to take any action to get us there.”

“But at every turn, Minister Champagne and his predecessors have systematically refused to take any action to get us there. If he doesn’t act now, we’re not going to be stuck with the dismal status quo; we’re accelerating towards a world where only Bell, Telus and Rogers exist, with a real possibility they may merge too. That’s why people in Canada are demanding the Minister finally take a stand and set aggressive affordability and competition targets for the CRTC to implement as soon as they possibly can,” said Hatfield.

In a recent interview with the Globe and Mail, Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications, told the publication “it sucks” to be the leader that sells the company’s 50-year old telecom business.

OpenMedia community members have taken action nearly 120,000 times since 2020, calling on the government to reverse the CRTC’s wholesale rates decision and support competition, choice, and affordability in Canada.