Canadians are finding it increasingly easy to compare local telephone rates from different providers as a result of a CRTC-mandated awareness campaign, though the same can’t be said of prices in the forborne long distance, wireless and Internet service markets, according to the regulator.  Research conducted for the commission by Decima Research Inc. (an affiliated company of Decima Reports Inc., publisher of Network Letter) shows that a greater number of Canadians are finding it easier to compare prices for local service, with the percentage of survey respondents who found it easier to compare local service prices increasing from 58% in 2003 to 61% in 2004 from 2003. As might be expected, the number of Canadians who don’t find local service price comparison easy dropped from 36% to 30% over the same two years. (The 2003 data was collected by Ipsos Reid.)  The increase in consumers’ ability to easily compare prices for local services shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since the CRTC mandated the creation of a such a program earlier this year (NL, Feb. 3/04). In Telecom Decision 2004-4 (the winback rules decision), the commission heeded calls by Call-Net Enterprises Inc. that an education campaign on local competition be established.  While it became easier to price compare for local services, it actually become more difficult to compare pricing in the long distance, wireless and Internet access services segments, according to the research. The long distance market experienced a drop from 68% in 2003 to 54% in 2004. Wireless decreased 8% from 54% to 47% and Internet decreased from 65% to 55%, a 10-point drop.  It’s unclear why there has been a 14-point decrease in the "easy to compare" category for long distance services, but it could be related to the greater use of flat rate fees for a bucket of long distance minutes.