Are Data Caps Finally Coming to an End for Canadians? CRTC Holding a Public Hearing in October

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were offered unlimited data plans for much fairer prices in Canada?

For years now, Canadians have been getting ripped off by Canada’s internet and wireless service providers.

In October, this may or may not finally come to an end.

Not only do wireless service pricing plans differ greatly from coast to coast in Canada (see image below), but these pricing plans are actually much cheaper for our US neighbours to the south.

Canadians have been paying substantially more for their internet now for decades, and unfortunate for us, it has become the norm.

Finally, things may actually change.

Koodoo pricing differences across Canada // reddit
Koodo pricing differences, BC vs Quebec // reddit
Purpose of this hearing?

In short, to examine differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans in Canada.

In length:

As a result of this proceeding, it is expected that Canadians and Internet service providers alike will benefit from a clear and transparent regulatory policy regarding differential pricing practices for Internet data plans.Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

When and where?

The public hearing will be taking place at the Conference Centre in Gatineau, Quebec starting at 9:00 AM on October 31st, 2016.

The CRTC commission has initiated the proceeding to:

…examine the policy issues surrounding the use of differential pricing practices by Canadian Internet service providers related to the provision of Internet data plans. This proceeding stems from an application made by several parties concerning the pricing practices used by Videotron when offering its Unlimited Music service to its mobile wireless customers.Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

The CRTC is responsible for facilitating the development of a healthy and competitive telecommunications service market, while protecting the interests of all Canadians. Because of this, the CRTC develops regulatory policies and frameworks to address issues that may surface in competitive market segments.

In recent years, the CRTC has developed the Wireless Code, which regulates the rates being charged by wireless carriers to for roaming services, along with several other rules and regulations.

ISPs do what they can to gain & retain consumers:

Due to the massive growth of internet data consumption in Canada and around the world, internet service providers are adopting different practices to differentiate their services in an attempt to attract new, and retain old customers.

This issue has been brought to the CRTC’s attention when Quebec company Videotron, was providing unlimited music downloading services to its customers, as well as when Bell Mobility exempted their mobile TV services from data charges.

The Commission determined that these exemptions had given an undue preference in favour of subscribers of their respective mobile TV services, as well as in favour of their own services, and had subjected consumers of other audiovisual content services, as well as other services, to a corresponding undue disadvantage.Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

WHY NOW? — The CRTC commenced this proceeding so that they can analyze and deal with the decisions in regard to differential pricing practices occurring in Canada all at once, instead of on a case-to-case basis.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

Here’s to hoping that this results in fairer internet data plan pricing for Canadians.

FACT — 87% of Canadian households are connected to the internet, up from just 79% in 2010.

Canadian internet users percentage // cira.ca
Percentage of Canadian internet households // cira.ca
[ View the full notice of hearing ]

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Jody Mitoma

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