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Creative Canadians take on Big Telecom's propaganda

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You’ve likely heard by now about the massive and misleading advertising campaign being run by Canada’s Big Three telecom giants, as they desperately try to stave off the prospect of greater choice in Canada’s wireless market. Campaigns like this don’t come cheap – but Big Telecom has deep pockets after years of price-gouging Canadian cell phone users.

Judging by the remarkable grassroots response from Canadians, it’s clear that Big Telecom has totally misjudged the national mood. They’re wasting millions on misleading propaganda and expensive ads that almost nobody believes.

That’s one good thing that’s come from all this: Our small team here at OpenMedia.ca has been so inspired by how Canadians are speaking out in creative ways to expose Big Telecom’s lies. Keep speaking out Canada!

Here’s a flavour of how Canadians are fighting back:

Have you heard about Bell’s misleading two-page ad, headlined ‘An open letter to Canadians’? Well Manitoba-based blogger Ben Klass did, and he decided to write back. Check out Ben’s “I am Canadian, a reply to Bell’s open letter”. Here are some of the best bits:

- On how Big Telecom never paid a fair price for its existing spectrum: “Bell didn’t get most of that spectrum by paying market price, but through a ‘beauty contest’... for pennies compared to market value"

 - On how Bell’s network fails rural Manitobans: “you’ve chosen to only cover the most densely populated (and most profitable) areas of the province while ignoring places like Thompson, Churchill and the Whiteshell”

 - On how Bell’s track record of squashing new entrants: “After every challenger contesting your dominance of the wireless market has been bought out or squashed, is it any wonder that the government wants to act to promote real competition?”

- Ben’s conclusion?: “Your company, along with Canada’s other major wireless providers, have had 30 years to address this situation. But you’ve failed... It’s time for a change.”


You may also know that Canada’s Big Three launched a flashy and expensive new website, stuffed with misleading claims designed to persuade Canadians that more choice in our wireless market is a bad thing. Luckily, it didn’t take long for plucky Canadian designers to fight back. In just the past week we’ve seen two new websites launch with the aim of ensuring Canadians know the truth:

RealFairForCanada.ca: “Protecting Robellus against fair-play and competition is a bad call for us Canadians.”

 Four4Canada.ca: “We’ve all been ripped off by our ‘proudly Canadian’ big 3 telcos. I want to share our stories with the world.”


You can also check out Reddit user ‘webmiester’ explaining how he wanted to “get people to start talking about what Canadians have to deal with when they're up against what is basically a monopoly”. Check out his frustrating conversation with a Rogers customer ‘service’ rep here.

Last but not least, draw some inspiration from Karen Geier’s “Open Letter to a Closed Brand”, in which she tells Big Telecom, “Canadians have complained vociferously that their plans are simply too expensive compared with their American counterparts, and you have done nothing about it.” Her piece was published on Global News and now trending on Reddit – go check it out!


Want to chime in? Here’s how you can help:

Momentum is on our side, as it looks like the government is finally starting to listen to Canadians’ outcry about our broken cell phone market. It’s vital that Canadians continue to work together to ensure people know the truth about Big Telecom’s false advertising.

We at OpenMedia.ca have set up a number of ways to help you do precisely that:

- Sign the petition: If you’re reading this blog, you may have already joined the over 58,000 Canadians speaking out at DemandChoice.ca. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Add your name today. We need as many people as possible to speak up and tell the government not to give in to Big Telecom.

- Tell your MP to take action: Canadians have laid out a clear road map forward for the future of our wireless market. Use our tool to tell your MP its time for action to lower cell phone prices by opening up Canada’s networks to affordable, independent providers. We know from experience that decision makers take action when they hear from their local constituents – take this easy and effective action now!

- Write a letter to your local newspaper: Getting a letter published in your local paper is, by far, one of the most effective ways of getting your message out. Many local papers are publishing Big Telecom’s expensive ads, and your neighbours need to hear from people like you about what’s really going on. Writing a letter is a lot easier than you might think. We’ve put together this easy-to-use tool to make the whole process as simple as 1-2-3. Check it out now at openmedia.org/newspaper.


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