The B.C. NDP government wants to make your cell phone bill cheaper.
It says it’s heard loud and clear people across the province are frustrated by a lack of transparency on cell phone plans, with issues ranging from unclear fees to confusing language in contracts.
Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith will be in Ottawa today to advocate in front of the CRTC, sharing British Columbians’ concerns and making recommendations to lower cell phone bills.
“This is part of our overall attempt to try and make life more affordable,” D’Eith says. “We all know it’s not a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity. People need cell phones. We’re hearing people spend as much on their food bill as they spend on their phone bill. That’s a burden.”
He’s been tasked by Premier Horgan to work on two different “pieces.”
“The one is too basically advocate for British Columbians’ in regards to cell phone pricing and the other piece is looking at things the province can do from a consumer protection side.”
Along with these “pieces,” D’Eith says there are three key areas he’s looking into.
“One is to encourage the CRTC to promote competition in communication so that there’s more choice of innovation and affordable services. The second one is particularly for seniors or vulnerable families to get the CRTC to mandate lower cost, low-use cellular service plans. Often the most vulnerable people are paying the most.”
Expediting reviews of consumer issues is another area he’s focused on.
“They have a thing called the Wireless Code, which they created to actually set some rules for telecoms. There’s a lot more work that needs to be done there, there’s a lot of holes that we heard from people. There’s a lot of confusion around that.”
Since consulting with British Columbians, the NDP government has received over 15,000 responses.
Just six per cent of respondents agreed their service costs were reasonable, while nearly 30 per cent added comments calling for more affordability and choice.