Telecom

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Telecommunications:

  • is an electronic, two-way communication, usually at a distance
  • includes wireless (cellphones, tablets) and wireline telephone and internet services
  • is different from broadcasting, which simply sends the message one way
  • has been a special policy and legal area and has been carefully regulated in Canada since 1905
  • has its own law, the Telecommunications Act.

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CCTS Mid-Year Report Shows Troubling Internet Issues

Monday, March 29th, 2021
OTTAWA, 29 March 2021 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today noted that the 2020-21 Mid-Year Report of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) released today shows a 6% year over year increase in consumer complaints during the months of August 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021. Customers raised more issue Internet-related issues during COVID-19 lockdown, concerning poor service quality and complete loss of service at a time when Canadians rely on internet services to complete essential activities. “As expected, increased home internet usage by Canadians under lockdown showed the weaknesses in Canada’s Internet industry and regulation,” noted John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “The CRTC’s ‘Internet Code’ had only four violations despite thousands of Internet complaints – proving it’s a dead letter,” he added.

PIAC to talk on The Action to Get Affordability panel at the Affordable Internet Day of Action

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021
OTTAWA – March 16, 2021 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre will participate in today’s Affordable Internet Day of Action, taking place at 1 p.m. E.D.T., virtually. Executive Director and General Counsel, John Lawford, is a panellist during the 4 p.m. discussion “ The Action We Need Right Now – How We Get Affordability: It’s time for new approaches and a break from the status quo.” Mr. Lawford will present PIAC’s argument for how to move from a solid legal ground to affordable internet to consumer action to achieve it. The one-day virtual conference includes a coalition of partners and organizations dedicated to demanding affordable internet for all Canadians. The event is open to the public and pre-registration is available here. Full agenda and further details at https://www.affordable-internet.ca/

Rogers-Shaw Deal is Bad Medicine for Consumers

Monday, March 15th, 2021
OTTAWA, March 15, 2021 - The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today expressed serious concern with the announcement by Rogers Communications Inc. (“Rogers”) that it will acquire the business of Shaw Communications Inc. (“Shaw”). The deal would cover cable TV, Internet and wireless assets. The result would mean fewer wireless competitors in many Canadian markets. “Canadians will not benefit from having fewer wireless competitors; they will pay more,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC.

PIAC to participate in National Day of Action for Affordable Internet

Friday, February 26th, 2021
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre announced today its participation in the upcoming National Day of Action for Affordable Internet on March 16. The one-day virtual conference includes a coalition of partners and organizations dedicated to demanding affordable internet for all Canadians. “All consumers, but especially low-income Canadians, struggle to afford internet and cellphone connections in an environment made infinitely more difficult by inadequate laws, regulatory capture and market dominance by big companies. The first step is protest, the next is action on all of these barriers,” noted John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel.

CCTS Annual Report 2019-20 Shows Internet Code, TV Code are Dead Letters

Monday, November 30th, 2020
The Commission for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS) Annual Report 2019-20 of consumer complaints about communications services shows that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) "Internet Code" and "TV Service Provider Code" do not protect consumers and indeed are "dead letters" that mislead consumers into believing their Internet and TV use is protected when it is not, today said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

Telecom Fail – CCTS Compliance Report 2019

Thursday, November 19th, 2020
Ottawa - 19 November 2020 - Canadian telecommunications companies are unacceptably failing to comply with resolutions and in some cases falsely claiming to resolve consumer complaints to Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS), according to the 2019 Compliance Monitoring Report, says consumer advocacy group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). "We are shocked, but not surprised, at the companies' variety of non-compliance with a simple complaint resolution scheme for telecom customers," stated John Lawford, PIAC's Executive Director and General Counsel. "Consumers have told us for years that problems exist with the process."

We Fight for That – Episode 3 – What the heck is wholesale with Matt Stein – now available

Monday, November 2nd, 2020
In episode 3 of PIAC's podcast, "We Fight for That", we explore the world of "wholesale" regulation of Internet service and why it matters to consumers with Matt Stein, CNOC President and Chairman, and Distributel CEO. Wholesale regulation of Internet (and wireless, maybe?) is fundamental to competition in Canadian telecommunications services.  We give a short lecture on the concept and then interview Matt Stein, CNOC President and Chairman, and Distributel CEO, to bring listeners up to date on recent disputes about wholesale rates for Internet service and how this arcane regulatory question affects the price consumers pay for Internet as well as the choice of providers and innovation in the industry. Matt reveals why consumers should have optimism that things are going in the right direction.

Seniors and Consumer Groups Petition to Cabinet Restore Paper Billing for Koodo Wireless Customers

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
OTTAWA, June 2, 2020 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) filed yesterday a Petition to Cabinet of the Federal government to reverse the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decision to allow Koodo Mobile (owned by TELUS Communications Inc.) to change their customers’ monthly bill from paper to electronic format. “Canadian consumers deserve a paper bill if they want or need one,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC.  “The CRTC and wireless companies pretend that seniors and others will not be hurt but that’s not what we heard,” he added.

Ottawa, we have a communications problem …

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020
OTTAWA, 12 May 2020 – The Mid-Year Report 2019-2020 of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) released today shows that Canadian communications customers face a crisis of confidence due to the actions of their service providers. Wireless issues, as in previous years, continue to lead all services in consumer complaints – with 10,527 (44.2%) out of all 23,839 telecommunications and paid TV service complaints – representing a huge 28% year over year increase in wireless complaints relative to other services. However, most disturbing in the report is that the leading complaint category for all services (wireless, home Internet, home phone and TV) was found to be “disclosure issues” – a CCTS euphemism for non-disclosure of key terms or providing misleading information about terms of service to the customer. For the first time, such disagreements topped the more mundane issue of “incorrect charges”, followed, as usual, by “intermittent/inadequate quality of service”.

PIAC Calls for CRTC Oversight of Contact-Tracing Apps and Networks

Monday, May 4th, 2020
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today filed an Application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requesting oversight of pandemic "contact-tracing" apps and network services that may be offered for Canadians to download to their smartphones. The Application requests that the CRTC ensure that all Canadian telecommunications service providers’ involvement in potential or actual pandemic contact-tracing for public health purposes is in accordance with privacy requirements under Canada's telecommunications legislation. PIAC Executive Director John Lawford stated: "PIAC is seeking oversight, clarity and transparency from the CRTC so that Canadians know what role their mobile wireless service providers and home internet providers may play in COVID-19 tracking and that they appropriately safeguard privacy while not in any way impeding appropriate public health measures."
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