A new direction for the CRTC

OpenMedia r1

Dear Paov,

I have some amazing news to share!

Today the government sent a clear message to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC): it must put the interests of customers before Big Telecom's.

...

For years, we’ve been frustrated by decisions the CRTC has made in the interest of protecting Big Telecom, instead of customers. But today the government has changed the playing field, introducing a new policy direction.

The government’s new policy will direct the CRTC to “promote competition, affordability, consumer interests and innovation” when making decisions that affect Canada’s telecommunications policy.1 This paves the way for increasing competition, lowering prices, and closing the digital divide in the Internet and cell phone markets across the country.

It may sound wonky, but this is a big deal. It means that the CRTC now has to put customers first, not Big Telecom. And we couldn’t have done it without you and your support.

This victory is the result of thousands of you taking action over the years and calling on the CRTC to put customers first. Most recently, close to 10,000 of you spoke out during the review of the Broadcast and Telecommunications Acts, which is looking at changing the rules that regulate the Internet.2

Through this process, and many others before that, you called on the government to foster greater competition to lower Internet and cellphone prices in Canada. Through this order, Minister Bains is opening the door for the CRTC to do just that.

So what’s next?

This week, the CRTC is set to announce its consultation on the future of the wireless services in Canada. Today’s directive clearly paves the way for the CRTC to allow smaller innovative providers to enter our uncompetitive and unaffordable telecommunications market. The barriers to fixing our broken telecommunications market have been removed – now it’s just up to the CRTC to decide what they’re going to do for us.

But it’s crucial that we hold the CRTC accountable to this. This direction doesn’t make good policy a done deal. We can’t let our guard down and expect that this institution will change overnight. We need to keep pushing for decisions that will foster competition, lower prices and close the access gap.

For now, however, I just want to thank all of you who took action over the years to make this a reality. This would not have been possible without you!

Thanks for all that you do.

Laura Tribe,
Executive Director
OpenMedia

P.S. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to make internet and cell phone services accessible for everyone. While this order by Minister Bains is a huge step forward, it is by no means enough. Will you help us continue the fight for an open and accessible internet by making a donation today?

Footnotes

[1] Proposed Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on Implementing the Canadian Telecommunications Policy Objectives to Promote Competition, Affordability, Consumer Interests and Innovation - Government of Canada
[2] Our submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act review is in — thanks for speaking out! - OpenMedia

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