Home > CRTC, Digital Policy, Digital Revolution, Telecommunications > Consumerism Telecommunications and Interest Groups

Consumerism Telecommunications and Interest Groups

Andrew Coyne one of my favorite Canadian columnists came out with an excellent column yesterday regarding how the consumer is being treated in these wireless wars of telecom policy and foreign entries into the telecom market.  In a very beautiful and well articulated way, Coyne suggests that increased competition in the market will do very little to benefit consumers, moreover what will is a change in attitude by the telecom industry on a whole  and government to ensure that producers of consumables produce around consumers needs rather than consumers having to put up with whatever producers produce and force on consumers to pad their pocket books.  Basically all parties including all interest groups, need to put consumers first (consumers are the life bread of all businesses not stock holders), rather than at the back of the line and considered part of an “interest” group.

My own thoughts, part of the digital revolution has been to empower consumers.  Interest groups have very little sway in public opinion when all they are doing is throwing money on it (which is a very old 90s and pre-social media way of marketing).  As with the ideology around the free market, success is usually dependent on market adaptation and meeting consumer needs.  Lowering the costs of cell and internet bills is just one of many needs this market has.

The digital revolution has provided businesses with countless ways to directly communicate to it’s customers for market based research and produce consumables more tied to market and consumer needs (in real time) than any time in the past.  One needs to question as to why the telecom industry on a whole and Government are not doing this effectively since we are well into the social media revolution.

The business models of independent telecom providers needs to be less based on spite of big telecom.  Big telecom needs to start putting the money they are throwing into swaying public opinion to work in market research and job creation. Just as businesses have the opportunity like never before to communicate with consumers directly to fulfill market needs, the Government and regulators also have that capability as well to do their own independent market research and base policies on fostering innovative environments to meet current market needs and demand. There shouldn’t be a need for consumer “interest” groups in this environment representing these voices, when there can be and should be direct line of communication from consumers to policy makers, regulators, and industry.  We need more policies in a consumer driven Government as the Conservatives claim to be, that actually communicate with those consumers independently.  Consumer “interest” groups should act more as independent overseers (meaning no financial ties at all to any telecommunications company or publicly endorsing private telecom companies) of those consultations to ensure policy is based on those direct communications with the market in my opinion.  They should not be seen as representing consumer voices, or trying to sway public opinion when consumers are being independently and directly consulted by government or regulators, rather they should be seen as ombudsmans of those consultations.

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