Vancouver-based nonprofit OpenMedia says “For too long, Canadians have been saddled with some of the highest cellphone bills in the industrialized world.” In an attempt to change this, the organization wants to make it easy for Canadians to provide feedback to the CRTC regarding their cell service and prices.
The CRTC has a consultation going on right now which OpenMedia says “could increase competition by opening up Big Telecom’s networks to indie mobile wireless startups”, or MVNOs, known as mobile virtual network operators. But the regulator needs to hear from Canadians “just how dire the current situation is,” explains OpenMedia, for it to happen.
So to make it really easy for you to voice your thoughts, OpenMedia has created an easy form for you to fill out and share with the commission, so your say is on the public record.
Here’s an example of the default letter, which Canadians will add their first and last name, email and postal code to:
I am writing to ask you to open up Canada’s wireless networks and ensure fair rates for independent service providers. We’ve seen time after time that more choice leads to lower prices, and I believe that WiFi-first MVNOs will play a critical role in increasing choice and affordability in Canada, to finally help bring our cellphone prices in alignment with our international counterparts.
Canada’s current system is broken. Right now, the rules allow the Big Three to block smaller, more affordable independent services. These rules must change to ensure every Canadian has affordable options outside the Big Three.
The solution to Canada’s high bills is more competition. We need to work to address the barriers to Internet access caused by unaffordable plans. When companies have to compete with each other, as we see in other countries — and even between different provinces in Canada — prices go down and data caps come off.
High cellphone prices hit low-income communities the hardest. We know that nearly one in five Canadians do not have a home Internet connection. That means that increasingly, low-income households are forced to be mobile-only, and are more vulnerable to the Big Three’s punitive data caps and unfairly high prices.
The digital divide disproportionately impacts rural, remote, and indigenous communities. All Canadians deserve to have a voice, and to contribute to our society and public narratives through media representation, political discourse, and content creation — we must fight to ensure they have the bandwidth to do so.
We need innovative new solutions — we can’t fix Canada’s wireless market without smaller providers. Allowing WiFi MVNOs is an important milestone in the battle for lower cellphone prices, but it’s not enough. We need fair rules for all MVNOs to ensure Canadians are paying fair prices for our mobile phone plans.
I acknowledge that my comments and information will form part of the public record for this proceeding, including being available on the CRTC website. I do not wish to appear at any hearing in relation to this submission, if there is one. I ask that this submission be granted the same weight as that of any other party.
The non-partisan organization cites how wireless competition in Quebec can actually put real pressure on Big 3 prices, which we have seen time and time again.
OpenMedia says “We have to make sure the CRTC knows exactly how unreasonably high cellphone bills are impacting you!”
Click here to fill out the form and send your comments to the CRTC.