Archive for CRTC

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.

Advertisements

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. 

Cool.

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.

T9-1-1 Service Goes Live In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 1, 2016 by itnerd

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association announced today that in partnerships with public safety agencies across the country and the CRTC, that T9-1-1 service has launched in Canada.

T9-1-1 provides 9-1-1 call centres with the ability to converse via text messaging with a DHHSI person during an emergency. When a DHHSI person requires 9-1-1 services, they dial 9-1-1 on their cell phone. There is no need for a caller to speak or hear, as the 9-1-1 call taker should receive an indicator that advises them to communicate with the caller via text messaging. The 9-1-1 call taker then initiates text messaging with the caller to address the emergency.

The service, which began rolling out in March 2014, is now available to the vast majority of Canadians, including in many parts of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and province-wide in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Islandand Saskatchewan. Some 9-1-1 call centres are still making the necessary upgrades to their systems and will launch the T9-1-1 service in the coming months.

T9-1-1 is only available to those in the DHHSI community. A DHHSI person must first register for T9-1-1 with their wireless service provider and must have an eligible cell phone before being able to utilize this service. All information about T9-1-1, including registration details and areas of service availability, can be found at www.TextWith911.ca.

One key thing to point out is that voice calling remains the only way to communicate with 9-1-1 services for a person that is not deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or with speech impairment. Text messages sent directly to the digits “9-1-1” do not reach emergency services.