I feel like I’m being held hostage by Canadian cell & internet providers and after doing some research, I’ve confirmed it! And I know this blog seems like it’s completely off topic, and not about mental illness, but it isn’t off topic. Please bare with me and you’ll see what I’m talking about it …honestly, I’m willing to bet there are quite a few of you out there that feel the same way.
The first thing I found out about our network is that Canada has an oligopoly going on when it comes to the wireless service industry. For those of you that don’t know what an oligopoly is, it’s “a market structure in which a small number of firms has the large majority of market share. An oligopoly is similar to a monopoly, except that rather than one firm, two or more firms dominate the market. There is no precise upper limit to the number of firms in an oligopoly, but the number must be low enough that the actions of one firm significantly impact and influence the others.”
In Canada, the oligopoly is Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), BCE Inc. (BCE) subsidiary Bell and Telus Corp (TU) and they control 90% of the market. You might not think they’re working together, but in 2014 the three of them raised they’re prices – in tandem – ranking Canada among the highest paying countries in the world for the wireless service industry.
The worst thing about it is one of them claims to support mental illness and makes a big deal of how much money they raise to help it, yet their wireless services are priced out of the market for most people; especially people on disability, single parents and retirees.
Back in the day, phones were free when you signed a contract and you didn’t get charged extra for the amount of local calls you made. Today, not only do we have to purchase our own phones, we also have to pay for local calls. And to make it worse, we have to purchase a new phone every two years because they’ve somehow figured out how to time our phones demise right around the two year mark! Furthermore, the cheapest plan in today’s market still doesn’t include long distance minutes – even though there are thousands of towers in Canada – and for two phones, the basic plan is going to cost one hundred and ten dollars, plus tax.
As most of you know, I’m on disability and my husband is retired and the cost of a bare minimum phone without long distance comes close to five percent of our income. Add in a hundred gigabytes for the internet, and we’re spending nine-point six percent of our income trying to stay connected!
In my opinion that’s ludicrous, but we live two hours away from family and friends and we need to stay in touch. We’ve tried to keep costs down by using skype, but apparently out here in the country, we can’t get the gigabytes because the maximum is one hundred! Really? We put a man on the moon forty-eight years ago, but we can’t provide internet to over 6.3 million people living in the rural areas of Canada.
…but I digress.
We also tried to keep our costs down by cancelling cable/satellite T.V. and getting Netflix, but with the high cost of wireless services from our provider, and the fact that we can’t get any more than one hundred gigabytes where we live, we can only afford to watch an hour of Netflix a night and there’s no YouTube!
…You guys know how much I need my music videos to shut my brain down before bed, but that all seems to be out now! Plus, I’m going to have to limit my time on social media!! My social media family has been my lifeline this last two years, and I have no idea what I’m going to do.
As you all know, I have a mental illness and I’m afraid to leave my house. Other than my husband, the only forms of connection with other humans that I have, are through a wireless hub; one that I might add has limited access, and I totally feel like I’m being held hostage.
Why isn’t there some kind of plan for people that are on a fixed income? And why can’t I get the gigabytes I need to stay connected with my life-lines? It honestly makes me feel like I don’t matter. How can I keep talking about it, if I can’t get a provider to keep me connected?
Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.