The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has taken a small a step in the right direction, which OpenMedia.ca acknowledges, but the public engagement organization also believes that the Commission has failed to safeguard consumer choice and affordable access to the Internet.
This decision is a renewal of a ruling to allow large incumbent Internet service providers (ISPs) to force usage-based billing (overage fees) onto their independent competitors and Canadians writ large. This means that the likes of Bell, Rogers, and Shaw have been given the green light to determine how we pay for Internet. If this decision goes unchecked, broadband is about to cost much more for Canadians.
Likely in response to popular opposition to Internet metering, the CRTC has decided to alleviate, albeit only to an acute degree, the burden this pricing regime will have on independent ISPs, whose competition serves as a check on Big Telecom. Indie ISPs will get a 15% discount from incumbents’ rates – just barely enough to allow the indie ISPs to differentiate their pricing structures.
The Commission seems to have acknowledged the tens of thousands of Canadians who signed the petition at http://www.StopTheMeter.ca, created videos, and wrote letters to MPs other officials asking that Big Telecom be prevented from gouging consumers and controlling the Internet market, but it has not gone far enough.
“The CRTC has once again left the wolves in charge of the henhouse,” said Steve Anderson, OpenMedia.ca’s national coordinator. “Canadians have come out in unprecedented numbers and demanded an affordable Internet, and while there is evidence that this has moved the CRTC, they have not gone nearly far enough "
Anderson continued: "It is deeply disappointing that the Commission has decided to give a few companies a free hand to engage in economic discrimination and crush innovation. Now is the moment for forward-looking, visionary policymaking, not half-measures and convoluted compromises with the companies trying to kill the open Internet. This decision is a step in the right direction, but it is clear to me that Canadians are going to have to continue to speak out on this issue."
OpenMedia.ca is now shifting gears, and encouraging citizens to sign the petition to back up the next phase of the campaign. Canadians are encouraged to sign the Stop The Meter petition and continue to raise awareness among family and friends. Now more than ever, citizens need to speak out on this issue.