CRTC chair says changes are needed to ensure equal telecom access, lower costs, for Canadians

Vicky Eatrides said Canadians pay some of the highest telecom rates in the world

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Vicky Eatrides wants to ensure Canada’s telecommunication system works for everyone.

But the chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) admits a lot of changes are needed to make that a reality.

One area of concern is the lack of services available in Canada’s north. In a recent address, Eatrides recapped a week-long public hearing in Yukon where community members shared how a lack of services led to several difficulties.

One story saw an isolated community unable to pivot their children to online learning during the pandemic. Those children lost up to three years of education. “We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘no child left behind.’ Well, those children were absolutely left behind,” Eatrides said.

The chair further admitted that Canadians pay some of the highest internet and cell phone bills in the world. “Compared with other countries — the United States, Australia and parts of Europe, for example — the prices we pay are higher.”

But Eatrides said costs are part of a larger story that sees the CRTC balance prices with the competition.

Eatrides said the commission’s final terms for mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreements, review to increase internet competition, and pole access decision will help address these issues.

“The responsibility lies with all of us to do our best work, to realize the opportunity to make Canada’s communications system better for everyone from coast to coast to coast. In so doing, we can open the door for Canadians to benefit from the new opportunities such a system will offer.”

Source: CRTC