WATCH: The B.C. government is taking on the Canadian telecom industry in an effort to improve cell phone service. The province is launching a public survey. Mary Griffin tells us what they’re asking and what they plan to do with the results.
One of the few phone booths left in Victoria doesn’t have a phone.
But it’s likely no one’s even noticed. That’s because 92 per cent of British Columbians are talking on their cells, including Claire Butterfield.
“For me, as a tool, this is super, super important for me. And yeah, it’s expensive,” Butterfield said.
Now the provincial government is launching a survey to find out what people think of their cell phone contracts.
“Today I’m announcing our first step as a government to studying billing transparency and fairness in cell phone contracts,” Mike Farnworth, the minister responsible for public safety, said.
It seems that people are not happy with what they are getting from their cell phone providers, including Grace Duckworth.
“I was on a plan for twenty dollars a month. Then it jumped up to 35,” Duckworth said.
“I have not once ever heard someone say, oh yeah. I love my phone plan. It’s great. I’m paying so little money,” Butterfield said.
Telecommunication falls under federal jurisdiction, but the province says it can control consumer protection and contracts.
“The results will help identify ways to both strengthen B.C. consumer protections, as well as encourage the federal government to improve affordability,” Farnworth said.
Canadians pay more for their phones than almost anywhere else in the world, but usage is low compared to other countries.
Independent experts say it’s time for a change. Laura Tribe is the executive director with Open Media.
“We know this is an issue. We know action needs to be taken. And hopefully, this will help collect some of that information to keep the pressure up,” Tribe said.
The province is looking for information to help change the way the industry works. That’s a popular opinion.
“Yes, the telecom companies are absolutely deceiving their consumers,” Butterfield said.
Farnworth said the province will use the results from the survey to advocate for British Columbians to the federal government and push for more affordable cell phone options in the province.
The survey runs until July 5 and takes about 15 minutes. The survey can be accessed here.