I have a suspicion that the CRTC’s timing on certain issues is following at least one political agenda…
One issue, the one that has received significant media attention, is about usage-based billing*. Bell essentially wanted to take cell phone pricing and penalties and apply it to their DSL services. What a nasty, underhanded way of treating your customers. A new company comes along and offers a good deal that threatens your customer base, and rather than offering competitive prices or services, Bell decides that it’ll make up for lost revenue by increasing their prices. Oh, and they want to penalize the start-up company.
The CRTC’s role in this was to propose to allow this new pricing scheme in law.
Thankfully, our docile little nation voiced enough outrage over this issue to get the government to notice us. They told the CRTC, in no uncertain terms, to go to hell**.
Great, and the day is saved! Oh, but there was another CRTC issue…
Yeah, the one about legalizing deliberately misleading news.
The law currently states that it’s illegal to broadcast/publish “any false or misleading news.”
The proposed change (slated to take effect September 2011) is that it would be illegal to broadcast/publish “any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.”
So if someone wanted to contest a certain news piece in court, the onus would be on the prosecution to prove that the “news” endangers or is likely to endanger lives, health, or safety. If that was not proven, there would be no case. This would make it excruciatingly difficult to contest any news article, even if it was obviously false or misleading.
Such is the hope of Sun TV, which is launching its news network, nicknamed “Fox News North”, after the demonstratedly biased and misleading news network.
Unfortunately, the uproar over usage-based billing was so great, that everyone forgot about the “fair and balanced” news law. From what I can tell, the UBB announcement came in October 2010, and the news law in January 2011, when most of the objection to UBB flared up.
Who wins here? The right-wing media, when they take advantage of the ruling that seems tailored to their purposes. Consequently, the political conservatives, whose ideologies would be promoted in the media. Also note that the government tried a little to look like the “heroes” for saving the public from UBB, so that’s another reason to suspect the timing – there will likely be an election within a year, and possibly soon.
I’m scared for this country.
* Two parts: a) if an Internet user exceeds their ‘cap’ – say, 25GB/month – they pay huge penalties; b) Internet companies that use Bell’s DSL lines (such as those which offer unlimited service) must also pay for extra usage
** Tony Clement said, “Reverse this decision or we’ll flex government muscle to do it anyway”
Today, I phoned my cell phone provider to tell them I was cancelling my service. I had been procrastinating doing this for a while now. I’m going to switch to the new provider in Canada, WIND Mobile.
Canadians have some of the highest cell phone rates among developed countries (see links below). Prior to the release of WIND, three companies owned 90-something percent of all mobile subscriptions in the country. Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Remember: Fido, Solo, and Koodo are owned by the same three companies (respectively). The Supreme Court had to rule on whether WIND met Canadian ownership requirements (see next group of links below). Luckily, it was agreed that it did. The competition for Canadian mobile service now has the chance to open up.
WIND isn’t going to save me much money, but the message I sent my provider by switching is, “You could do better.” I chose to switch to WIND partly because of its good rates, but more because if people leave their current mobile providers, those providers will have to do something to stay competitive. Like lowering their prices. It’s about time. If WIND makes a big enough impact, expect to see radical changes in the way the other mobile companies do business.
The WIND “Always Shout” plan, $45/month
— Unlimited anytime calling to anywhere in Canada
— Unlimited incoming and outgoing texts
— Voicemail/call display/call forwarding/call waiting/etc
— No contract
— Must be in a WIND “home zone” (in the GTA, this currently stretches to Hamilton, Brampton, Newmarket, and Oshawa)
— Currently only works with a few phones
And of course:
Link: WIND Mobile