2016-01-12

More Competition Not Less Will Improve Canada

So.

I switched to Bell Fibe last year. Fiber optic technology is the future and does provide superior picture quality. If you're lucky enough to have fiber optic lines set up in your neighborhood and have a excellent TV and are into this sort of thing, then it may be for you. Keep in mind, however, two things about Fibe. Not all optics run straight into your home. This is called Fibe to Node where it goes to a "box" in your neighborhood. Optics that go into your house is called Fibe to Home. This is what you want. Fibe to Node compromises part of that superior aspect you want with Fibe.

I have Fibe to Node but figured why not? Plus, my uncle was selling for Bell and I decided to help him out. I know. Risky.

Long story short, aside from having to let go of my email address which I had for over a decade, I ended up paying more than I did with Videotron - which wasn't substantial and was tied, in part, to the fact fiber optics is better - but more importantly a problem which I can't accept kept reoccurring.

The TV keeps freezing. It's not intermittent. It keeps getting interrupted which is absurd. Of course, I got nowhere with Bell. Like robots, they stick to some protocol or script about wanting to send a technician (which I did already and wasn't interested in doing again. I don't have time to waste a day with them only to tell me everything is okay. With me, the story goes along the lines of 'Hm. The signal is fine. Strange. Yes, I have a little mysterious ghost-gnome that follows me around preventing me from getting optimum technological service) or unplugging the modem - which I do a tad too often - to update the software. Why, just the other day I lodged an official complaint and I got the feeling it went nowhere and was ping-ponged to some technician who clearly didn't have any interest in me except to ensure he got his protocol rammed down my face. Guess what? Picture freeze was still there.

Now. The uncle I mentioned ended up at Videotron and suggested maybe I go back. He still thinks Bell Fibe is outstanding but the rest of Bell - not so much.

When I left I explained to him I really had no reason to move and did appreciate Videotron's decent customer service. They actually try to offer some.  This is key because communications and service is the lifeline of companies. It's taken less serious in Canada because of obsession with regulation that maintain monopolies but in the United States it's a mantra. Often, the difference between companies succeeding and failing comes down to service and services provided. The more professional and tailored they are to consumer sensibilities, sentiments and demands, the better.

In Canada, alas, we don't have this luxury of choice. We have but TWO to choose from thanks to superficial control of the industry. In Quebec in comes down to Bell and Videotron and you're constantly forced playing a 'pros and cons' and 'on the other hand' game with never quite getting what you want.

Yay Canada! As long as we're not American, right? I mean, why do you need all those channels and all that customer service? Be glad with what you get, amirite? Hey, we do have choice and spectacular technology!

What rubbish.

Anyone with friends and family in the U.S., if the conversation moves to that, knows we're getting reamed and get nothing in return for the high prices.

And really, it's exactly because of what I mentioned earlier: It's a monopoly.

De-regulate (the boogey-word in Canada. Why, what will happen to our polite and enlightened....never mind), drop stupid content laws and allow for competition to enter and you'll see how fast prices drop, customer service improves and choice expand exponentially.

Not only that, draconian cuts to employees probably would be mitigated somewhat against the fact that, because of other players in the market, executives get the axe or move on to other companies for a change. Bell in particular must have an oligarchic executive class rooted in patronage not unlike the Canadian political system.

Canada and patronage go hand in hand.

How long before Canadians wake up and start thinking like clear-headed consumers and demand for more? 


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