In the News

OC Magazine: High-speed Internet: The price is just too steep for many Canadians

People who live in big cities have easy access to high-speed Internet, right? Well, not necessarily. We look at the situation across the country.
 
It’s hard to imagine getting through a full-blown pandemic without having access to the Internet. But believe it or not, that’s the fate of many Canadians who lack the means to pay for the service, even if they do live in a big city. “The price is a problem for many of our members,” says Judy Duncan, head organizer at ACORN Canada, a community union with more than 130,000 members that focuses on direct action.
 

 

CBC News: CRTC to allow small wireless carriers to piggyback on Big 3 networks

Canada's telecom regulator is opening the door a crack to more wireless competition, by allowing a small number of regional companies to piggyback on the networks of the established players.
 
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said Thursday that regional telecom providers with their own established networks in Canada will now effectively be allowed to become de facto Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs — companies that buy access to other networks at wholesale rates, and then resell them to consumers.
 

PIAC Media Release: Consumer Groups welcome “MVNO” Wireless Competition in Canada

OTTAWA, 15 April 2021 – Consumers will benefit from “MVNO” wireless competition permitted today by Canada’s telecommunications regulator, said the “Coalition for Cheaper Wireless Service” (CCWS) a group of consumer, low-income and seniors groups whose members are the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC); ACORN Canada (ACORN); National Pensioners Federation (NPF); and CARP (formerly Canadian Association of Retired Persons).

John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel, welcomed the decision, noting: “Consumers made the case that they have too few choices and too high prices for cellphone service in Canada. The CRTC has finally cleared a path for MVNOs and we trust they will find Canadians are very willing to try a new wireless option.”

 

iPhone in Canada: ACORN Members Protest in Streets Against Rogers-Shaw Merger

According to ACORN Canada, members in Toronto took to the streets on April 1, raising their voices for affordable internet, protesting the under-review Rogers-Shaw merger, and urging lawmakers to take preventative action.

“Rogers can’t [fool] us. What a great #Internet4All April Fools Day Action today!! Toronto ACORN members fighting back for affordable internet because it is essential,” said the ACORN Toronto chapter on April 1, 2021, protesting outside Rogers in Toronto, Ontario.
 
“The internet is a lifeline, and we need it more than ever during COVID!! ACORN is fighting back,” added the ACORN Toronto.
 

 

Toronto Star: ‘We need the internet now’: Advocates call on government to make internet accessible — and affordable — to everyone

A group of advocates, organizations and researchers called upon the government to implement affordable internet policies during the virtual Day of Action for Affordable Internet, March 16.

The day of action involved multiple panels discussing internet affordability, competition, rural internet access, government policy and more.

Laura Tribe, executive director of grassroots organization OpenMedia, said the internet, already increasingly an important part of daily life and recognized as a human right, has become a “lifeline” during COVID-19 while remaining a privilege, as disadvantaged Canadians continue to struggle to access the internet.

She mentioned the recently announced merger of telecom companies Rogers and Shaw, news that is raising concerns about competition and pricing.

“It clearly shows that the issue is not stagnant,” said Tribe. “Every single day that this remains unaddressed the digital divide deepens.”