As you may have heard, OpenMedia.ca launched a grassroots movement in support of wireless competition in Canada. In just one month, it has quickly become one of their largest online campaigns of the past year. Its petition, asking the federal government to set aside spectrum for new wireless entrants at the upcoming auction, has now received 60,000 signatures.
The campaign has clearly struck a chord with Canadians because they can see the progress that competition has made over the past two years. Prices have come down for consumers, customer service is improving and many of the unfair practices – like termination fees for contracts – are starting to be eliminated because of competitors like WIND. But competition is still in its infancy and there is still a lot of work to be done. Last week, The SeaBoard Group came out with a report urging the government not to renege on their commitment to foster competition – specifically by providing spectrum set aside at the next auction and by lifting foreign ownership restrictions.
As I noted last month when I wrote about the launch of OpenMedia.ca’s campaign, the progress of competition is at risk for consumers if the government does not set aside spectrum for new entrants at the 700 MHz spectrum auction. This spectrum is essential for new entrants to build out LTE networks and the reality is that the incumbents already have a similar band of spectrum that can be used for their LTE networks.
I want to thank the 60,000 of you who have already shown your support. We anticipate the federal government announcing the rules of the spectrum auction within the next few weeks. Now that we are on the last, most important leg of our efforts, I encourage you to spread the word and share the http://stopthesqueeze.ca/ petition with your networks. The greater the volume of our voices, the greater the opportunity is for us to be heard. This is the only way Canadians will truly feel the real benefits of wireless competition.