Rights & Money

Canadians Aren’t Happy With the Big Telecom Providers

High costs and limited choice are at the heart of customer dissatisfaction

By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/LumineImages. 

If you feel trapped by your telecommunication provider and the high price you’re forced to pay for home Internet, you aren’t alone. According to a recent national survey, Canadians are fed up with paying some of the highest prices for home Internet in the world.

The Leger study, called Broken Connection: Canadian Consumers’ Views on Large Telecommunication Providers, surveyed more than 1,500 Canadians online on behalf of Distributel Communications Ltd., a national telecommunications services provider. Intended to provide an understandinig of the country’s perception of large telecommunication providers—particularly when it comes to service, value, and affordability—the survey concluded that Canadians aren’t satisfied with what they’re getting and want more bang for their buck.

Telecom is an extremely fruitful business, generating annual revenues of more than $50 billion, according to the 2018 CRTC Communications Monitoring Report. Though Canada has a large number of telecommunication providers, the biggest—Bell, Rogers, Telus, Videotron, Shaw, and SaskTel—control nearly 90% of telecom business across the country, and according to the Leger study, 78% of Canadians with Internet service in their homes are customers of one of these. Four in 10 respondents said they would like to change to another Internet service provider but feel trapped, sensing that all providers are the same; in Atlantic Canada, 53% feel trapped.

In addition, Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for home Internet, and 90% of the survey’s respondents (and 93% of rural customers) said they were frustrated by the cost. And the price for home Internet continues to rise—two-thirds (67%) of those polled said that the cost of their Internet access rose in the last 24 months, and 41% reported that the price was increased without notice. Only 12% said their service improved after their fees were increased.

“Achieving a truly competitive telecommunications marketplace is the best way to ensure that Canadians across the country have access to the benefits of consumer choice,” Distributel’s CEO, Matt Stein, said in a release.