June 5th, 2023

NDP launches province-wide hearings to lower cell phone bills and bring better internet service

QUEEN’S PARK— Leader of the Official Opposition NDP Marit Stiles (Davenport) and critic for Consumer Protection Tom Rakocevic (Humber River – Black Creek) were joined by colleagues in the Ontario NDP caucus to launch province-wide hearings to tackle high cell phone bills and lack of reliable internet access in Northern and rural communities.

“Ontarians pay some of the highest cell phone and internet bills in the world. And yet, there are parts of the province that do not have reliable access to high-speed internet. This is unacceptable,” said Stiles. “We are determined to find solutions that will give Ontarians affordable access to quality services and finally close the deliberate digital divide that has been leaving Northern communities behind.”

Members of the Ontario NDP caucus, joined by experts and advocates will be launching a series of public consultations on the future of cellphone and internet service, affordability and access. They will call on industry stakeholders, consumer advocates and telecom experts to appear to discuss solutions and give communities the opportunity to share their experiences with cell phone bills, access and service issues in rural and remote communities.

“Cellular service and reliable internet are not luxuries, but basic and essential services,” said Rakocevic. “People rely on them to connect with loved ones, for their livelihoods and jobs, for safety, education, and more. Yet, our system allows for a select few large corporations to gouge hard-working Ontarians simply so that they can access this essential service. Affordable and reliable access to these services is long overdue and we are looking forward to building equitable and innovative solutions that serve all Ontarians.”

The first hearing will take place at Queen’s Park on Wednesday June 28th. To register visit https://www.tomrakocevicmpp.ca/telecom. Additional hearings and consultations will take place throughout the summer and into the fall. Dates will be announced shortly.

Quick Facts:

  • Northern Ontarians and those living in rural areas are disproportionately impacted, excluded from opportunities and services.
  • Lack of investment and focus on ensuring fair and equitable access to reliable high-speed internet to First Nations across the province has contributed directly to economic inequity
  • At year-end 2021 as reported by the CRTC shows that 99.22 per cent of households in urban areas had access to the minimum high-speed connectivity, while the rates are much lower for rural (57.1 per cent) and First Nations (33.41 per cent) communities
  • Only 33.41 per cent of households in First Nations communities in Ontario have access to the minimum connection speeds. That is unacceptable and shameful.