While the United States and Canada are two very different countries with a raft of different problems, they do share one common enemy: internet service providers. Both wireless and home internet are expensive and uncompetitive in Canada, so Americans can learn some important lessons about how ISPs operate by looking north of the border.

Canadian broadcaster CBC recently interviewed Krys Weiss, a whistelblower who worked as a door-to-door sales rep for Bell (Canada’s AT&T) pushing fiber-to-the-home service to homeowners. His account of how he was “trained to deceive” will sound suspiciously similar to anyone who has spent more than five minutes on the phone with their cable company.

Weiss worked as a contractor doing door-to-door sales for fiber-to-the-home service, which Bell has been rolling out as an alternative to its old DSL telephone lines. Weiss’s job was to explain to customers why they’d want to upgrade from a 50Mbps DSL connection to a more expensive fiber service, even if they weren’t heavy internet users.

“Weiss says he was coached not to mention fine print in contracts, to fudge on prices and internet speeds,” CBC said.  “I wasn’t telling the whole truth,” he says. “I was only telling the small things and leaving out the big things that could be potential harm for them.” Weiss felt particularly bad about one senior citizen, who he persuaded to buy a triple-play package with high-speed internet, even though she didn’t own a computer. “She told me she never used the internet. Didn’t know how to utilize a computer. But I had to sell her the internet in order to get the triple play.” Weiss said that the salespeople were dropped off in neighborhoods, given high quotas, and told to push triple-pay bundles. They were working mostly on commission.

 

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