Archive for CRTC

CRTC To Rogers: We Want More Detail On How You’re Going To Deal With The July Outage…. A Lot More Detail

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 18, 2022 by itnerd

You might recall that after the nationwide outage in July, Rogers was told by the CRTC to serve up an explanation as to what happened and what they’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Which Rogers did do. Though some details were redacted which makes it look like Rogers has something to hide. Regardless, that document wasn’t good enough for the CRTC based on this:

This letter is in relation to the national service outage experienced by Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers) that began on 8 July 2022 and is in reply to Rogers’ response dated 22 July 2022 to the Commission’s request for information (the Response). The Response provided valued information for the Commission to understand the cause of the outage, impact of the outage and immediate steps to mitigate the impact.

Since the Response, Rogers has made public statements about measures to reduce the likelihood of similar events as well as address consumers’ concerns. To better understand the impact of the event, mitigating measures as well as these recent announcements, further information is required for the Commission to assess this situation. 

Given the seriousness of this event, and while the Commission considers the complaints and calls for a public inquiry before it, Rogers is to provide, by 15 August 2022, comprehensive answers, including rationale and any supporting information, to the questions included in the attachment.

This letter and any subsequent correspondence will be placed on the public record. Should Rogers designate any information in its response as confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Telecom Act, an abridged version of the response must be provided for the public record. Note that, in accordance with its normal practices, the Commission may disclose or require the disclosure of information designated as confidential if its disclosure is in the public interest, i.e., where any specific direct harm likely to result from disclosure does not outweigh the public interest in disclosure.

First off, you’ll note that the request for Rogers to provide this information by August 15th. But Rogers has asked for more time. Specifically August 22nd.

Regardless, this is what the CRTC is looking for answers on:

  • A cost breakdown of the $250 million that Rogers is saying that it is going to spend to make its network more resilient
  • Implementation timelines and information on how separating networks will improve resilience
  • They want to know why Rogers is spending $10 billion in Artificial Intelligence and further testing and oversight and why that’s going to make a difference
  • Rogers has to provide details on the direct economic losses of the outage and confirmation if residential and small business customers receive the credit the company promised

Read from a cynical point of view, it sounds like the CRTC believes that Rogers is just putting stuff out there that they have no intention of doing in hopes of making the blowback from their outage go away, and the CRTC wants proof that they will actually follow through. It also sounds like the CRTC is for once doing its job. Which means that when Rogers puts out their response next week, it will not only be worth reading, but it will likely be a means to hold the troubled telco’s feet to the fire.

The CRTC Is Implementing Tech To Stop Scam Calls…. Except That It Will Not Work

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 10, 2019 by itnerd

Yesterday the CRTC announced that it was getting Canadian telcos to implement STIR/SHAKEN technology to stop scam calls. You know, the calls for duct cleaning services, or the ones where scammers pose as government agencies who threaten you with all sorts of bad things if you don’t pay up. Here’s how the CRTC explains STIR/SHAKEN technology:

STIR/SHAKEN will enable service providers to certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by authenticating and verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. This new framework will empower Canadians to determine which calls are authenticated, reducing the frequency and impact of caller ID spoofing.

In case you are not familiar with caller ID spoofing, which is faking the number that someone is calling from, this Wikipedia article can help with that.

Now it sounds good on the surface. You’ll be able to tell at a glance if the call is coming from a legitimate source, or is a scam call. So in theory by the time this fully rolls out in September 2020, Canadians should be safe from the scumbag scammers of the world.

Well, not so fast. There’s two reasons why this may be a short lived victory:

  • It’s entirely possible that these scammers will simply change their tactics. Right now many overseas call centers utilize VoIP calling, but route all of that activity through a private branch exchange (PBX) based in the United States or Canada.  That means it appears as a phone call originating in the U.S. or Canada. While STIR/SHAKEN would mean that scam calls originating from suspect PBX operators would start to get marked as spam, they could just set up shop with another PBX and be back in business. In other words, it would be like play whack a mole.
  • STIR/SHAKEN is currently only supported in the U.S. and Canada. Other countries would have to sign on for STIR/SHAKEN to be really effective. And as far as I am aware, that hasn’t happened with any other country on the planet. So seeing as the majority of scam calls come from countries like India, this may not make that much of a difference. And as an aside one has to question if the government of India has the will to actually implement STIR/SHAKEN seeing as scammers in that country are basically bringing in large amounts of money into their economy. Though they are doing it in less than legal ways.

So STIR/SHAKEN is a good step in terms of cutting down on scam calls. But it’s only a step. More has to be done to keep people safe from the scumbags who are behind these calls and I hope that the CRTC and others are working on that.


Fallout From Flawed CRTC Public Report Continues

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 6, 2019 by itnerd

On Feb 13 TekSavvy called out the CRTC over breaking their own rules and standards in their 2018 public report. We asked them why and pressed for greater transparency for this key source of evidence.

The CRTC’s reply failed to answer questions about why the Communications Monitoring Report broke the rules, and the CRTC reply makes it clear that they have no intention of fixing it. That of course is a problem, and TekSavvy isn’t the only one who thinks that:

Hopefully the CRTC comes to their senses and changes course on this front as clearly they don’t have the interests of Canadians in mind.

CRTC Says Canadian Telcos Use “Misleading Or Aggressive Sales Practices”…. Shock, Not

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 20, 2019 by itnerd

Well this is not going to come as a surprise to any Canadian that gets some form of telecommunication services. The CRTC who has spent the last few months investigating aggressive and misleading sales behavior like this example or this example. The result was that the CRTC confirmed what Canadians already know, which is that Canadian telcos engage in this sort of behavior. Here’s what the CRTC said in the press release that they put out regarding this:

The Report on misleading or aggressive communications retail sales practices finds that, even with the existing measures put in place by service providers and governments, misleading or aggressive sales practices occur to an unacceptable degree.

The CRTC is taking action to introduce new measures to ensure Canadians’ interactions with their service providers are carried out in a fair and respectful way, such as considering the creation of a new, mandatory Internet Code of Conduct and the creation of a secret shopper program to monitor sales practices.

The CRTC also found that misleading or aggressive sales practices have a harmful impact on Canadians, particularly on vulnerable Canadians, that the services providers’ internal measures are not always effective and that there are gaps in the awareness and effectiveness of existing consumer protections.

While the CRTC is considering taking additional steps to curb this behavior, they didn’t name and shame the telcos who are responsible for said behavior. That can be taken two ways. Either they didn’t have the guts to name and shame which is disappointing, or most if not all telcos in Canada do some form of this behavior. Perhaps both. In an ideal world, the CRTC drops the hammer on Canadian telcos to make sure this stops right the hell now. But somehow I don’t see that happening. Which means that Canadian consumers will continue to be the victims of this behavior regardless of the steps the CRTC will take.

CRTC Ordered To Investigate The Sales Practices Of The “Big 3” Telecoms

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 14, 2018 by itnerd

I am going to go out and limb and say that execs at Bell, Rogers, and Telus might be a wee bit concerned by the fact that the Canadian Government has ordered the CRTC to investigate their sales practices:

The federal government is ordering an investigation following allegations that Canada’s largest telecommunications companies are using “misleading” and “aggressive” tactics to sell products and services.

Innovation, Science and Economic Minister Navdeep Bains has ordered the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to investigate and report on the sales practices used by Canada’s largest telecommunication companies. 

The minister also called for a public inquiry to allow Canadians to voice their concerns and said the resulting inquiry report will have to propose potential solutions.

What’s interesting is that Rogers, Telus, and even Shaw who owns Freedom Mobile claim to be open to a public inquiry. But there’s no comment from Bell. Seeing as they have been found to be the worst offenders when it comes to this sort of thing. I think it tells you all you need to know about Bell.

I think that we’ll figure out how much the telcos care about this if they go on an aggressive PR offensive and if they even make some sort of minimal decrease of your telco bill.

Stay tuned. The inquiry has until the end of February of next year to its work. And seeing  as next year is an election year, action might even be taken by the government if something pops up that they can lock on to so that they can score some cheap political points.

CRTC Steps In To Fix Emergency Alert System

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 16, 2018 by itnerd

According to the Financial Post, the CRTC is working with all of its partners to fix the technical errors that caused the test emergency alerts to be inconsistently distributed to Canadians. Which is a good thing as the rollout of this system can best be described as a hot mess as evidenced by everything in this post on the subject. The fact that a real alert earlier this week which was an Amber Alert sparked complaints highlights the fact that action needs to be taken immediately to fix this.

Now I have been very critical of the CRTC over the years. But if they can fix this and give Canadians the alert system they need and deserve, I’ll all for it.

Consumer Group Demands CRTC Investigate Telco Upselling

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 12, 2018 by itnerd

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has formally asked the CRTC to hold a public inquiry into aggressive telecom sales tactics, based on recent media reports like this one, this one and this one:

John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel signed the letter on behalf of PIAC, which reads in part: “The nature of these allegations is so serious that a formal inquiry into the entire industry’s sales practices is required.”

Lawford stated today that: “We are concerned that such aggressive and potentially misleading sales practices are endemic in retail Internet, wireless, subscription TV and wireline telephone markets, in particular in relation to bundles offered by the major providers. We are therefore calling on the CRTC to publicly inquire into these practices to restore consumer trust and to craft any necessary rules to prevent further harm to consumers.”

A copy of the letter is found here.

My $0.02 worth. Someone should investigate this. Be it the CRTC or Parliament. Clearly there is something wrong here where reports like these surface. Thus in the interests of Canadians, they need to be addressed and people who are perpetrating behavior like this need to be held to account. Thus, I will be very interested to see what the CRTC and others do with this request. If they do nothing, then it tells you all you need about those who regulate the telecommunications industry in Canada.

CRTC To Put An End To Locked Cell Phones And Unlocking Fees

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

I have been a very vocal critic of the CRTC for years. But today, I will give them credit where credit is due. They have just put out a release that says this:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that as of December 1, 2017, all individual and small business wireless service customers will have the right to have their cellphones and other mobile devices unlocked free of charge upon request. In addition, all newly purchased devices must be provided unlocked from that day forward.

The corner offices at Rogers, Bell, and Telus must be seriously upset right now. I say that because every time a customer comes to them to unlock a phone, that’s $50 CDN in their pockets. Now that revenue is gone. And I seriously expect a mass stampede of customers who will be dialing up their carrier on December 1st to get their phones unlocked.

The net result is two fold:

  1. This decision gives Canadian consumers more choice in terms of their wireless provider and what they pay as they can now bring their own device and leverage a lower cost plan to get cell service. As long as they are out of contract of course. The net result might be increased competition between Canadian carriers to hold on to their customers.
  2. If you travel, you can now use a local SIM card rather than using a carrier’s roaming package as using a local SIM card will cost you way less than any roaming option that is offered by any Canadian carrier. The net result might be Canadian carriers providing more cost effective to ensure that you don’t use a local SIM card on your next trip overseas which would deprive them of revenue.

We’ll have to see how that shakes out around December 1st. But in the here and now, kudos to the CRTC for finally doing something that benefits Canadian Consumers.


CRTC Rules In Favor Of Net Neutrality In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 20, 2017 by itnerd

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today decided in favour of historic Net Neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from unfairly manipulating data caps to discriminate against certain apps and services.

This decision comes from a 2015 complaint against the wireless carrier Videotron, which primarily operates in Quebec. Videotron launched a feature in August of that year, enabling customers to stream music from services such as Spotify and Google Play Music without it counting against a monthly data cap as a way to entice people to subscribe to Videotron’s internet service. In short, Videotron and any other ISP can’t do this.

This is a huge win for Canadians. And I am guessing Americans who recently had a lot of their rights on the Internet yanked out from under them are now wishing that they lived in Canada


The CRTC Declares Broadband Internet Access In Canada To Be A Basic Service

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 21, 2016 by itnerd

Finally, the CRTC does something that I will applaud them for. Actually, they did two things.

First, they declared that Broadband Internet access in Canada is a basic service. That means ISPs have to start providing Broadband Internet access to all Canadians. That includes rural areas and the artic.

Second, the CRTC has set new targets for internet service providers to offer customers in all parts of the country download speeds of at least 50 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps, and to also offer the option of unlimited data. 


To achieve that, the CRTC will require providers pay into a fund to facilitate these moves. The companies will be able to dip into that fund to help pay for the infrastructure needed to extend high-speed service to areas where it is not currently available. It also is supposed to keep the telcos from passing these costs along to customers. Good luck with that. 

Finally, the CRTC figures that two million Canadian households, or roughly 18 per cent, don’t have access to those speeds or data. The CRTC’s goal is to reduce that to 10 per cent by 2021 and down to zero in the next 10 to 15 years.

My take? These are all great moves that if they pan out. I will be interested to see if the CRTC will back this up with legislation if the telcos don’t play ball. Which given their track record, I would not be surprised if they don’t. I guess we’ll have to wait and see, and hold both the CRTC and Canadian telcos to account.