Rogers Increasing 911 Fees This Spring

by Jordan Richardson on March 15, 2010

In a move that is little more than yet another cash grab by one of Canada’s Big Three providers, Rogers is boosting its monthly 911 fee to 75 cents starting in April of this year. The fee was previously 50 cents a month.

It’s hard to really get all that livid about spending an extra quarter for 911 fees, but the move does denote a larger fee reshuffle in the underbelly of Canada’s companies.

Telus has eliminated its 911 fee and Bell Mobility did the same, ridding themselves of the dreaded system access fees in the process. In the process, however, both Telus and Bell jacked the prices of their basic rates plans to compensate for the losses from removing the fees.

It’s a popular move for companies to reform fees in name only, so that the customers don’t know exactly what it is they’re paying for.

Rogers’ 911 fee increase only applies to customers who have joined the service before October 5, 2009. Customers who signed up after that date will continue to pay what is called the “Government Regulatory Recovery Fee.” That fee, while not mandated by the government at all, is amusingly designed to help Rogers “recover” the “government regulatory” expenses that they have to pay.

One such “government regulatory” expense that Rogers has to pony up to the government in Canada is, of course, that of supplying 911 services for free. The April fee increase starts to make sense now, doesn’t it?

As Iain Marlow correctly points out, the amputation of certain fees and the replacement of those fees with other fees and other fee acronyms (like GRRF) is enough to make your head spin. Canada’s cell phone companies are expanding on what are essentially capricious fees while feeding us a line of bull about fading system access fees and the like.

In light of the potential for increased competition in Canada’s markets, it’s hard to validate what Rogers is doing here by any stretch of the imagination.

This increase could potentially be a public relations nightmare, as it’s hard to picture any company that would want to be involved with raising the cost of emergency services.

In any event, the fee increase is just the latest in a lengthy line of examples as to how much of a throttlehold Canadian telecommunications subscribers are under at the moment. New competition cannot come soon enough.

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