February 19th, 2014

Canadians still paying the price for conservative incompetence

The much-delayed 700 MHz spectrum auction has finally closed and there remains no assurance it will translate into lower prices for consumers or better access for Canadians outside of major urban centres. After repeated missteps, Canadians have lost faith in the Conservatives’ ability to improve wireless services.

We’ve already seen many New Entrants exit the field because the Conservatives have failed to create a stable business climate and consistently apply pro-competition policies like set-asides, and fair roaming prices.

The wireless spectrum auctions represent a vital opportunity to offer Canadians reliable wireless service and next generation speeds at lower prices.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives have failed to leverage this unique opportunity even after repeatedly delaying this important auction.

Just days ago, the Conservatives’ Industry Minister walked away from their promise to increase competition and lower prices for Canadians, all but admitting failure and once again changing policy direction.

Conservative mismanagement, mixed messages and confusion have created uncertainty for investors; and Canadians are paying high wireless bills with limited access outside of urban regions.

New Democrats have consistently raised concerns about Canadians footing the bill for the Conservatives’ flawed wireless policies. Canadians deserve access to the most reliable networks and highest speeds at affordable prices – regardless of where they live.

This is why our practical proposals include smarter roaming and tower sharing provisions to allow smaller Canadian players to compete and bring down prices; stronger requirements for wireless providers to expand their networks outside of urban areas; and maintaining spectrum set-asides to promote competition.

New Democrats will continue pushing to ensure that consumers don’t pay the price for Conservative failures.

The Conservatives shouldn’t be using these funds to balance their books when so many rural Canadians still face a digital divide.

NDP Industry critic Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain)
NDP deputy Industry critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois – Salaberry)