Politicians rally to question Big Three hikes

Imagine this: Two bitter rivals set aside their differences and come together in the face of true evil. It reads like the stuff of legends and is about to take place in Canadian politics.

If you can recall my last column, I wrote about Canada’s top three wireless carriers, Telus, Bell and Rogers – aka The Big Three – and how they’re essentially jacking up their prices for no reason at all. I ended that column by talking about people’s frustrations with the feds for not doing anything about this (alleged) blatant collusion, and now it looks like that might actually happen.

The NDP were set to introduce a motion Wednesday that would study the recent price increases by the Big Three, a motion that the Conservatives have agreed to support.

The motion was to be introduced by Toronto NDP MP Peggy Nash, who also acts as the Official Opposition’s finance critic. Nash’s motion was to read, “That the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology undertake a study of recent wireless plan price increases by Canadian wireless carriers and their impact on the affordability of life for consumers and report its findings to the House by April 30, 2014.”

For the rest of us, that’s pretty good news. I mean, more often than not these types of things just slip by and the citizens just bank their resentment for a rainy day. While it remains to be seen if this is just lip service or not, it’s nice to see something on the front of the feds when it comes to the ridiculousness that is our wireless industry.

If something substantive does come from this it wouldn’t be the first time that the feds stepped up, as they rejected lobbying efforts from the Big Three trying to limit Verizon Wireless’ ability to enter the Canadian market. While Verizon didn’t end up making moves to enter the Great White North, it was good to see the government actually do something in the interest of consumers.

While we’re at it, though, why not introduce some legislation capping random price hikes like this, or putting something in place where carriers can only do so much within a set amount of time? How about making it so carriers must sell any phone with any plan? Or making it so that any plan that was previously offered should be always available for consumers to join? Remember those awesome 6GB data plans that were a thing when smartphones started coming into their own? They cost $30 a month back in 2009. Today, 6GB of data would cost you an extra $125 a month.

But I digress. The Big Three have each seen large profits in recent years, just as plan pricing has increased alongside. Now I’m not saying that Canadians deserve free wireless service, but when the systems in place are clearly not helping consumers, one has to wonder where this will all end up.

Will our elected leaders finally take measures to protect their constituents, or will Canadians continue to slapped with random rate increases with no end in sight? cpoon@thenownewspaper.com

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