Toronto – September 14, 2019 – We’re reminded every day how essential digital phone and internet services have become — and reminded every month that their cost keeps going up. Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world to stay digitally connected.
Meanwhile, two million Canadians living in rural, remote, and northern areas still don’t have access to reliable internet service. No wonder the cost and access to staying digitally connected have become hot button election campaign issues — with the NDP promising to bring in legislation that would force Canada’s telecom companies to offer cell phone and internet plans that cost no more than the global average.
According to a recent report from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC):
- The cost of staying connected has been rising faster than inflation. Canadian households spent an average of $222.83 a month in 2016 for their communications services, an increase of $4.41 (2.02 percent) from 2015.
- In comparison, the inflation rate in Canada was 1.4 percent.
- While more than 87 percent of middle and high-income households have a home internet subscription, the number was less than 65 percent for lower-income households.
- For average-income families, the cost of digital access represented about 2.9 percent of income.
- For low-income families, it cost them about 8.6 percent of their income to stay connected.
- Younger users (under the age of 30) were the highest spenders on mobile and internet services, with an average monthly bill of $115. Older customers (65 and older) spent an average $42.83 a month.
- That contrast reversed for TV viewing. Older consumers spent an average of $61 per month for their TV channel services. Younger consumers spent $30 per month.
- The average monthly cost for a mobile phone with 2 GB data in Canada is $52.
- The average monthly cost for a mobile phone with 2 GB data in the United States is $37 ($29 USD).
Source: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Communications Monitoring Report 2018, Online, https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/policymonitoring/2018/cmr1.htm.