This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Christopher Ingraham points out that while many luxuries are getting cheaper with time, the necessities of life are becoming much more difficult to afford:
Many manufactured goods — like TVs and appliances — come from overseas, where labor costs are cheaper. “International, global competition lowers prices directly from lower-cost imported goods, and indirectly by forcing U.S. manufacturers to behave more competitively, with lower prices, higher quality, better service, et cetera,” Perry said.
On the flip side, things like education and medical care can’t be produced in a factory, so those pressures do not apply. Compounding it, many Americans are insulated from the full costs of these services. Private and public insurance companies pay most medical costs, so there tends to be little incentive for individuals to shop around for cheaper medical care.
In the case of higher education, the nation’s massive student loan industry bears much of the upfront burden of rising prices. To the typical 18-year-old, a $120,000 tuition bill may seem like an abstraction when you don’t have to start paying it off until your mid-20s or later. As a result, the nation’s college students and graduates now collectively owe upward of $1.3 trillion
in student loan debt.
“Prices rise when [health care and college] markets are not competitive and not exposed to global competition,” Perry said, “and prices rise when easy credit is available.”
Hence, our current predicament. We can afford the things we don’t need, but we need the things we can’t afford.
– Alex Usher notes how one of the same cost pressures applies in Canada, as universities losing public funding are squeezing students for massive tuition increases. And Lindsay Kines reports that the Clark government’s decision to make life less affordable for people with disabilities in British Columbia has led to 3,500 people giving up their transit passes.
– Natalia Khosla and Sean McElwee discuss the difficulty in addressing racism when many people live in denial of their continued privilege.
– Paul Wells comments on SNC Lavalin’s long track record of illegal corporate donations to the Libs and the Cons.
– Finally, Gerry Caplan points out how Justin Trudeau is dodging key human rights questions. And Mike Blanchfield reports that the Libs’ willingness to undermine a treaty prohibiting the use of cluster bombs represents just another area where they’re leaving the Cons’ most harmful policies untouched. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
Bell Canada (BCE Inc.) is rolling the dice on a political gamble that, if successful, will mean the death of affordable Internet access for Canadian households and businesses. On October 21, The… . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Bell is lobbying the Canadian government for a “free pass” from new customer protection rules
Cord-cutting in Canada keeps increasing. How many of you still have cable TV?
Article by Daniel Tencer for the Huffington Post
Canadian TV viewers have been ditching their cable and satellite TV subscriptions at a pace that’s nearly seven times faster than last year, a new analysis shows.
. . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Huffington Post: Cord-Cutting In Canada 7 Times Faster Than Last Year, But Telcos May Have A Bigger Problem
Hmm… Wireless customers fleeing the company. Profits up. 1,500 jobs cut. And shareholders getting a 10% hike? Looks like this telecom giant isn’t putting its eggs in the “good customer service” basket anytime soon…
Article by The Canadian Press for CBC News
Telus Corp. says it’s planning to reduce its workforce by . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Telus to cut 1,500 jobs but hike dividend 5%
Tomorrow is the deadline for Canadians to tell the CRTC how it should update its local and community TV policy. It will determine what will happen to $150 million that Canada’s big cable and satellite companies collect that is supposed to support “community TV.” Canadians should get the local media policy we deserve.
. . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Rabble: It’s time for Canadians to demand the local and community media policy we deserve
Hey, Canada could sure use something like this:
Article by Sarah N. Lynch for The Globe and Mail
New York state’s attorney general is probing whether three major Internet providers could be shortchanging consumers by charging them for faster broadband speeds and failing to deliver the speeds being advertised, according to documents . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Globe and Mail: New York probes broadband speeds
Wireless prices increased at over three times the rate of inflation. Here’s why:
Article by Aaron Saltzman for CBC News
Consumers are spending more on communication services but they aren’t getting any more for their money, according to a prominent critic of the telecom industry, who says the spending increases are due . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: CBC: Why Canadians are spending more on wireless and internet services
One thing we learned from the latest CRTC report is that Canadians are spending more on telecom services each year.
Article by Monika Warzecha and Jonathon Rivait for the National Post
. . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: National Post: New CRTC report may show the landline and the traditional TV set are going the way of the Dodo
“OpenMedia.ca, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, said the report shows that Canada has a long way to go to create more affordable telecom options.” Speak out now for faster, cheaper Internet at UnblockCanada.ca
Article by BRIAN MCKENNA, THE CANADIAN PRESS published by The Province
OTTAWA – Canadians are paying more for their . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: The Province: Canadians spend more on wireless, Internet services; prices up more than inflation
As monthly household telecom spending breaches the $200 mark for the first time, Canadians will be looking to incoming Liberal government for reassurance and action
October 22, 2015 – This morning the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released the first part of their annual Communications Monitoring . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Canadians look to newly-elected government for action as CRTC report confirms huge year-on-year price increases for communications services
How the incoming government responds to this request will be an important litmus test for Canada’s digital future.
Article by Christine Dobby for The Globe and Mail
BCE Inc. is appealing a ruling from Canada’s telecom regulator to the federal cabinet, arguing the decision forcing it to give small Internet providers access . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Globe and Mail: BCE launches appeal of CRTC fibre networks ruling
Bell Canada is calling on the new federal Cabinet to overturn pro-customer CRTC requirements to ensure Canadians can access high-speed independent providers
October 21, 2015 – This morning it was reported that Bell Canada (BCE Inc.) is challenging a landmark CRTC decision that promised fair access to fibre . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Litmus test for new government as Big Telecom threatens future of affordable Internet service in Canada
Great to see when rural communities in Canada get the high-speed Internet they deserve! Check out our Report Card to see where the parties stand on tackling this problem: http://om4.me/ZZj
Article by Tracy Hanes for The Globe and Mail
For decades, Scugog Township, a rural community of 22,500 residents in Ontario’s Durham . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Globe: Rural communities get gigabit Internet: ‘We went from the dark ages to highest-speed Internet available’
Unbelievable. Big Telecom is charging $150 a month for ultra high speed fibre Internet. Now wonder less than 5% of Canadian households have fibre connections, compared to nearly 70% in Japan. When fibre is affordable there’s no doubt that we’ll leap to the new technology the same way they did when . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Rogers, Bell and Telus hike Internet speeds, prices with ‘gigabit’ service
So, just how big is Big Telecom?
Our friends at the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project, led by Carleton University Professor (and OpenMedia friend) Dwayne Winseck, have sought to answer exactly that question.
In a new blog post they ask:
Ever wonder who the main companies are that make up and shape the media, telecoms . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: How big is Big Telecom? Just how concentrated is the Canadian media landscape?
Less than 3 weeks away from the election, and still no mention of universal, affordable broadband Internet access…Why are political parties silent on this issue?
Article by Michael Geist for the Toronto Star
The long election campaign of 2015 has featured a myriad of daily policy announcements as the three . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Geist: Make universal, affordable broadband an election issue.
It turns out more choice = more savings in Canada’s broadband Internet market. But there’s a catch – the digital divide isn’t just rural/remote vs. urban anymore. Check out how over 70% of people in Canada’s largest city are being left behind when it comes to super-fast fibre Internet. And be sure . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Toronto Star: Bridging Toronto’s real digital divide
A few days ago, OpenMedia helped our campaign partners at Demand Progress add the names of thousands of Internet users to a historic legal defense of the Net Neutrality rules that are currently being challenged in court by Big Telecom in the U.S.
As you may recall, the rules being . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Big Telecom could slip new slow lane powers into a U.S. bill that has nothing to do with the Internet
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
– Oxfam points out that without a major redistributive effort, hundreds of millions of people will be trapped in extreme poverty around the globe no matter how much top-end growth is generated.And Michael Valpy writes that the Cons have gone out of their way to stifle any talk . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Why can’t we have nice things like U.S.’s monthly instalment price plan for iPhones here in Canada?
Article by Christine Dobby for The Globe and Mail
Apple Inc. revealed a new way to buy its flagship device last week – the option to pay for unlocked models of its newest iPhones through . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Globe and Mail: Apple’s monthly instalment price plan for unlocked iPhones eludes Canada