Consumer Choice in Telecommunications Broadcasting


Public Interest Advocacy Centre


Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)




Consumer choice is essential for the existence of a vibrant telecommunications marketplace. Facilitating choice and competition is especially important in this highly concentrated sector of the Canadian economy. The purpose of this report is to examine issues associated with consumer choice—as exemplified by switching service providers—in the four principal sectors of the Canadian communications sector: home internet, home telephones, mobile telephones, and paid television services. PIAC identified two main barriers to consumer switching in the telecommunications marketplace. Switching is hampered by service providers imposing switching costs on consumers, making it a more expensive and cumbersome process for customers. Additionally, consumers tend to conform to cognitive biases when making complex decisions (such as choosing between opaque and complicated options in the telecommunications marketplace), and this inhibits them from switching providers.

In this report, PIAC makes four recommendations to increase consumer choice in the telecommunications marketplace. Firstly, that the CRTC ban multi-year contract lock-ins for all communications services. Secondly, service providers should be prohibited from linking the sale of a service plan to the provision of devices. Thirdly, that the CRTC establish technical standards for ensuring that enabling devices can be interoperable between all service networks. Finally, the CRTC should provide accessible and transparent calculating mechanisms that offer consumers accurate information on the costs and features of all communication devices in Canada.

This document is available in the following language(s):

Third-Party Information Liability Disclaimer

Some of the information on this Web page has been provided by external sources. The Government of Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information. Content provided by external sources is not subject to official languages, privacy and accessibility requirements.

English and French

OCA Funded Research
This research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.

Contact information

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
285 McLeod Street, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON   K2P 1A1
(613) 562-4002
(613) 562-0007

Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

Date Modified: