Back in the beginning of June, David McGuinty, M.P. for Ottawa South started a campaign to pass Bill C-555: the Get Connected Fairly Act. Well, summer is all over and he’s back in business with more vigor than ever.
On his website he clearly lays out the problems on why our cell phone bills in Canada are so much higher compared to other countries around the world, such as Europe and the United States. McGuinty also put together a snazzy bar chart that shows our rates compared to these countries. In addition, not letting the problems just lay there, he outlines the necessary solutions to help reduce our cost and frustration.
Here is the Problem and Solution from his website:
Canada pays the highest cellphone bills in the developed world, and has the lowest cellphone adoption rate.
Heavy cellphone users in Canada pay 56% more than heavy users in the US, average users pay 33% more than their counterparts in the US.
There is no purpose for a ‘system access fee’ except to confuse consumers.
Confusing terms of service and sky-high rates have a direct impact on our usage rates.
Today in Canada, the cellphone adoption rate is 58 cell phones per 100 residents. In the US, 84/100 (and the US is the next lowest country among G7 nations).
Bill C-555 makes three substantial changes. It:
1. Eliminates the System Access Fee and other misleading charges by making it a term of licensing that cell phone service providers roll all ‘fees’ into their monthly plan rate;
2. Mandates a ‘fact sheet’ for every cell phone contract that sets out each service being provided and its associated cost; and,
3. Launches a CRTC inquiry into competition, consumer protection, and choice in telecommunications in Canada.
Clear pricing encourages price competition between service providers and benefits both the consumer and the industry. Increased competition means better services are provided more efficiently and reduces barriers to competitiveness, productivity, innovation and growth for SMEs in Canada.