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Confirmed: Shaw rings in 2015 by charging higher prices for slower Internet

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 20:42:07 +0000

January 6, 2015 – Shaw today confirmed that it will be charging higher prices for slower Internet in 2015. Concerned Internet users warned of these price hikes back in December and confirmation today has sparked outrage online. The changes mean that new customers will need to choose between getting slower Internet speeds, or paying more for a faster service.

For example, where $60 a month purchased a 25 Mbps service in 2014, it will purchase just a 15 Mbps service in 2015 - a drop in speed of 40%. Existing customers will also experience steep 10% price hikes - or five times the rate of inflation. Responding to the news, OpenMedia’s Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:

“Canadians hoping to keep a lid on their household expenses as one of their New Year’s resolutions are in for a shock. When the rumour first broke, Shaw assured us that that this was all a big misunderstanding. Well the proof is in the pudding – and today Shaw served up some pretty expensive pudding. And, if history is any indication, others like Bell, Rogers, and Telus will soon follow. ”  

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Government’s Facebook mass spying plan will further erode privacy of law-abiding Canadians

Thu, 13 Nov 2014 22:00:15 +0000

Media reports this morning have revealed that the federal government is building an expansive Social Media Monitoring system to collect, store, and analyze what Canadians say on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The report in Motherboard suggests this system will feature “real-time monitoring and analysis of social media content including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, chatrooms, message boards, social networks and video and image sharing websites”. Responding to the news, OpenMedia.ca communications manager David Christopher said:

“When people post on Facebook they believe they’re sharing with their family and friends. They certainly don’t want everything they say to be tracked, stored, and analyzed by faceless government bureaucrats in Ottawa.”

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President Obama's call for strong rules against Internet slow lanes a positive sign for Internet users around the world

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 18:55:16 +0000

OpenMedia commends Obama’s commitment to strong rules that would protect the open Internet, including Canadian Internet users and businesses.

November 10, 2014 – This morning U.S. President Barack Obama released a decisive statement urging the FCC to use the strongest measures possible to ensure strong net neutrality rules in the U.S. that would keep the Internet an open playing field, stating “no service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee.”

OpenMedia welcomes this strong statement from the President, as recent rumors reported in the Wall Street Journal suggested that the FCC was still considering rules allowing slow lanes online. In his statement, President Obama directly refers to Title II reclassification, a strong and enforceable approach that Internet freedom advocates - including OpenMedia - have been fighting to implement for the past year, saying: “I'm asking the FCC to classify Internet services under Title II of the law known as the Telecommunications Act.”

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New report from CRTC confirms Canadian telecom sector remains dominated by large conglomerates, keeping prices high and blocking Canadians from new affordable options

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:53:22 +0000

Despite promises from government to encourage greater choice and affordability, new report confirms Canadians are still being price-gouged by telecom giants

October 16, 2014 – On the heels of recent official confirmation that the Big Three are keeping wireless prices artificially high, the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has released the annual Communications Monitoring Report for 2014, which provides an overview of the Canadian communications sector. The report confirms that Canadians have been hit with a year-to-year increase of 3.2% in costs for telecom services, despite government promises of lower prices.

The report shows Canada has a long way to go to achieve more affordable rates for mobile phone and Internet users, as we continue to pay some of the highest prices for some of the worst service in the industrialized world. While the report suggests Canadians are using more wireless data and subscribing to higher broadband Internet speeds on average, this increased usage is coming with huge costs. However, a growing movement of tens of thousands of Canadians are pushing back against sky high bills, calling for the networks to be opened to enable independent providers to operate on a level playing field.

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Leaked draft confirms TPP will censor Internet and stifle Free Expression worldwide

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:18:31 +0000

Are you tired of the secrecy and extreme Internet censorship proposals in the TPP? Be sure to check out our positive alternative, crowdsourced from over 300,000 people in 155 countries around the globe - learn more at Our Digital Future.

October 16, 2014 – This morning Wikileaks published a second leaked draft of the Intellectual Property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The draft confirms people’s worst fears about Internet censorship. That’s according to community-based organization OpenMedia, which is leading a large international Fair Deal Coalition aimed at securing balanced copyright rules for the 21st Century.

“It is hugely disappointing to see that, yet again, Canadians - and members of the public worldwide - have to be informed about these critical issues through leaked drafts, instead of through democratic engagement on the part of governments and elected officials,” said OpenMedia Campaigns Coordinator Meghan Sali. “When will our decision-makers recognize that negotiating serious issues - especially proposals that would censor our use of the Internet - must be considered and debated democratically instead of in secret meetings with industry lobbyists?”

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Government’s digital strategy props up Big Telecom giants at expense of rural Canadians

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:31:32 +0000

In response to this morning’s announcement by Industry Minister James Moore regarding funding for Internet service providers (ISPs) looking to expand broadband services into rural and remote parts of Canada, OpenMedia.ca Campaigns Coordinator, Josh Tabish, said:

“While we welcome any measure that would improve Internet service for rural Canadians who have long suffered from poor service and sky-high prices, we are sad to see public funds continue to prop up Big Telecom providers who have been under-serving and over-charging Canadians for years. Simply handing over taxpayer money to these giants won’t solve our national digital deficit. The Big Three have a terrible track record of mismanaging funds that have been explicitly collected to improve Internet services for rural and remote communities. This past June, the CRTC wrote a letter expressing concern over Big Telecom’s failure to deliver high speed Internet to nearly 40% of the 272 communities that they were mandated to serve.”

Tabish continued, “These giants have been coddled by government for too long, and these services are too important to leave in their hands. What’s worse: our government's digital strategy has been unambitious from the start. First, they back-paddled on a CRTC commitment that would have ensured 100% of Canadians had high-speed access by 2015 – instead, pushing those numbers to 98% in 2019. Second, their goal of 5Mbps is embarrassing when compared with our global counterparts. Consider Australia, where most residents will have access to 25 Mbps speeds by 2016. Every Canadian should be able to access reliable, affordable broadband Internet, but simply handling public money over to the Big Three is not the way to do it.”

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Efforts to deliver greater wireless choice and lower prices start to pay off, as indie cell phone provider Wind secures investment to become fourth national carrier

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:04:42 +0000

News of $300m in new investment into Wind follows multi-year campaign that secured customer safeguards, new wireless rules, and a more level playing field for independent wireless providers.

September 15, 2014 - Canadians can look forward to lower wireless prices and improved choice, after it was revealed today that independent provider Wind Mobile has received around $300 million in new investment. The injection of new funds follows a series of positive changes in Canada’s wireless market which have made it easier for independent providers to operate on a level playing field with the Big Three providers, Bell, Rogers, and Telus.

In response to today’s news, OpenMedia.ca says financial support for a viable fourth national carrier is good news for wireless customers, and would never have happened without the hard work of the over 70,000 Canadians involved in the Demand Choice campaign.

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Prevented Telus/Mobilicity takeover is welcome news, but more govt action needed to level playing field and ensure wireless choice

Wed, 21 May 2014 19:12:08 +0000

Affordable, independent providers are struggling because of years of a history of regulatory coddling of Big Telecom, says OpenMedia.ca

May 21, 2014 - The withdrawal of Telus’ bid to take over Mobilicity is welcome news for Canadian wireless users, but more government action needed to level the playing field for struggling independent providers. That’s according to OpenMedia.ca, which is running a sustained campaign for greater choice and lower prices in Canada’s wireless market. The group says every Canadian deserves affordable, independent options outside the Big Three for their wireless service.

Canadians pay some of the highest wireless prices in the industrialized world due to a broken wireless market in which just three giant conglomerates (Bell, Telus, Rogers) control over 85% of spectrum and 92% of wireless revenues.

Responding to this morning’s news, OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson said: “Today’s announcement is welcome news for long-suffering wireless users. Our already sky high prices could have increased even further if Big Telecom succeeded in grabbing yet more scarce wireless resources. Canadians desperately need affordable independent providers, but right now those providers are struggling due to a tilted playing field and years of regulatory coddling of Big Telecom.”

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Wireless price-hikes! OK who’s running the show here: Big Telecom or the government?

Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:14:08 +0000

In February, Industry Minister James Moore announced that the government has heard our voices, and promised that everyday Canadians would soon experience lower costs and greater choice in our broken mobile phone and Internet market.

In March, less than a month later, Canada’s Big Telecom cartel jacks up prices across all providers, with little difference between the prices and services they offer.

Umm… WTF?

Canadians everywhere might be wondering: who’s running the show here? Big Telecom? Or the government?

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Strahl resignation underlines need for total overhaul of spy agency oversight

Fri, 24 Jan 2014 22:38:15 +0000

Independent online news publication the Vancouver Observer has today revealed that Chuck Strahl has resigned as Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Responding to the news, OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson said:

“Today’s news is welcome, because all of us can agree that publicly funded government watchdogs should not be employed by those connected to the agencies they are overseeing. In this case, there was a clear conflict of interest given that CSIS has been asked to aid the oil industry in monitoring environmentalists.”

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