CRTC looks to change
Thomas Alexander’s frustrations with complicated cell phone bills leave him feeling disgruntled and annoyed. However, according to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), that dissatisfaction may be coming to an end.
A resident of Waterloo, Alexander, along with other Canadians, has been complaining about the impediments that ensue from cell phone contracts, which often have negative long-term effects, such as cancellation fees not being properly addressed in the terms and conditions.
“These long-term cell phone contracts misinformed me as the paying customer and I do not think that it’s fair or right,” Alexander lamented.
“I just think that a three year contract is unreasonable for something that will probably last me twelve months. I don’t think that the terms and conditions are really all that clear.”
Criticisms such as these have reached representatives at CRTC and they have decided to take action for the sake of the clients. The CRTC will be conducting a public-consultation process to assess consumers’ views on new regulations on the sale of wireless services for smartphones and tablets.
Independent technology analyst and journalist Carmi Levy believes that the consultations will be useful to the public, as people will direct their frustrations to those who can solve their problems.
“Canadians really do love to complain and unfortunately we tend to complain very often about our wireless service,” Levy said. “This is Canadians’ chance to be heard and so instead of complaining to each other at parties, they now have a chance to have their input considered by the very agency that makes the rules.”
Based on Levy’s observations, the CRTC had previously been hesitant to extend beyond its roots as broadcast regulator and had taken a very passive approach to the issues revolving around wireless and Internet services. Using the metaphor of the CRTC requiring “teeth,” Levy spoke of the CRTC needing to be more aggressive.
“Unless there are real consequences for the non-compliants for all involved, when all is said and done all of this will be for naught, so the rules have to be clear, the boundaries have to be clear and the punishments for exceeding those boundaries must be clear as well,” Levy reasoned.
According to Levy the CRTC must also aim to improve on becoming more “21st century,” as its roots and actions in the industry are still perceived to be very “twentieth century” due to the CRTC trying to catch up with Internet-based enabled services.
“This is important to the future of Canada because our competitiveness depends on our ability to deploy our online and wireless technology,” Levy said.
“But if the rules aren’t clear and the national regulator cannot make those rules clear, we will continue to interact with other countries who will do it better and economically that is a bad news story for us.”
A public hearing for the CRTC consultation process will be held in January where people can freely express their opinions to members of the CRTC.