Need more context? Here it is:
Just when we thought the CRTC’s Big Telecom scandal couldn’t get any more outrageous, it did.
On June 12, the Toronto Star reported that Big Telecom has met with Industry, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada over 250 times since the CRTC’s 2019 wholesale rates ruling — and a DOZEN times just with CRTC Chair Ian Scott himself. In contrast, indie ISPs met with the same groups just 19 times in the same timeframe, while OpenMedia met with ISED just 4 times during that period, and not once with the CRTC.4
But one meeting between Chair Ian Scott and Big Telecom absolutely takes the cake: At an Ottawa pub in broad daylight, Scott sat down for beers with Bell CEO Mirko Bibic — an official, registered lobbying meeting — just weeks after Bell filed its appeal of the CRTC’s 2019 wholesale rates.5
Shady lobbying like this private Bell/Ian Scott cocktail hour have led to anti-consumer decisions that are already costing Canadians dearly. Since Scott’s beer with Bell, the CRTC has thrown out its own calculations on fair wholesale rates, ignoring its own analysis that Big Telecom dominates the market and extracts monopoly profits in Canada, and even ignored Cabinet’s policy direction that the CRTC must prioritize affordability. Incredibly, they’ve refused to even calculate new wholesale rates for fair Internet pricing, defaulting instead to the higher 2016 rates. The ruling was straight out of Big Telecom’s fantasy policy wishlist — so much so that many experts, including a past CRTC chair, expressed their astonishment at the ridiculousness of the decision.6-9
Coincidence? We think not.
But if that’s the way the game is going to be played, we think it’s time to even the playing field! If the CRTC Chair wants to conduct business over beers, then he needs to include Internet users and advocates too — NOT just Big Telecom. All Ian Scott needs to do is tell us when and where, and OpenMedia and 3 community members will be there to meet him (while abiding by standing health orders, of course). Email Chair Ian Scott with an invitation right now: Will he meet OpenMedia and 3 members of the community for regulatory beers on the patio?