March 15th, 2021 - 7:04pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2021
MASSE OPPOSES TAKEOVER OF SHAW BY ROGERS DUE TO NEGATIVE IMPACTS FOR CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES: The buyout will lead to higher prices for consumers and businesses since a wireless competitor will be eliminated while consolidating the broadband sector
(Windsor)- Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development Critic announced his opposition to the takeover over of Shaw by Rogers Communications since it eliminates a competitor in the wireless market while consolidating the broadband sector at a time of record profit margins for the industry.
“During this public health crisis due to the COVID 19 pandemic the need for accessible and affordable high-speed broadband and wireless internet has become obvious to all Canadians. With people sheltering at home and with schools and businesses closed, Canadians need a fast and reliable internet connection to communicate for work and school through online applications. It is an essential utility and must be treated as one. Unfortunately, the government has failed to treat this with the urgency it deserves and this takeover will eliminate a wireless competitor leading to even higher prices for Canadians who already pay amongst the highest prices in the world,” Masse stated.
The Canadian telecom market is one of the least competitive in the world as demonstrated in domestic and international studies. The profit margins of the largest three telecom companies (BCE, Rogers, and Telus) have reached an astonishing 46.2 per cent. In fact, Canadian telecom companies make more revenue per gigabyte of data than almost any other company in the world. Canadians pay 23 times more than those in Finland and 70 times more than those in India. Yet this has resulted in lower data use than in almost any other country in the world. This hurts Canada’s economy and consumers. During this pandemic the profit margins in the broadband divisions of Rogers and Bell have increased.
Last summer the NDP revealed a broadband plan to ensure all Canadians have access to affordable high speed broadband that was supported by consumer groups and the industry which would not cost the taxpayers anything since it would be funded by the spectrum auction, which in 2019 raised over $ 3 billion dollars alone which would pay for more than half the cost.
In 2019 the NDP revealed plans to regulate the telecom sector with price caps to ensure there was affordability for consumers with prices comparable to similar countries such as Australia. The liberals made promises that have been broken by the government’s actions in siding with large telecoms companies rather than consumers as demonstrated last august when they forced the CRTC to re-examine its ruling to cut wholesale internet rates. Prices for consumers have risen as a result.
“There has been twenty years of conservative and liberal governments’ neglect of the telecom market which has led to Canadians paying the highest prices in the world and some Canadians having no access at all. Allowing for a competitor to be eliminated by a takeover is the exact opposite of what needs to be done to protect consumers,” Masse stated.