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The final word: How Canadians will have access to high-speed Internet at a fair price

The federal government asked Canadians if broadband Internet should be a basic service — read our TL;DR response or dive into our submission below.  

Canadians should have access to broadband Internet for $30 a month, with minimum guaranteed speeds of 5/Mbps for uploading and 5/Mbps for downloading — that’s the crux of our submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for their Review of basic telecommunications services hearing.

With the help of our community — you — as well as experts, academics, and partner organizations, OpenMedia has worked over the past year to lobby the Commission to create new rules to ensure all Canadians have access to guaranteed minimum service levels on fixed and mobile networks — rules that will enable all Canadians to enjoy equal opportunity to participate in the social and economic activities afforded by Internet access at a fair price.

Our community-driven submission argues that these new rules should not hinder industry, but should instead promote investment, competition, and openness. We also strongly believe that the CRTC has the authority to make these changes, and to ensure transparency and enforcement for when these guidelines aren’t met, as mandated by Parliament.

When it comes to the challenge of providing guaranteed, reliable high-speed Internet to rural communities, OM supports industry-funded subsidy mechanisms that promote public-private partnerships in consultation with communities, rather than the centralized funding programs such as the National Contribution Fund 2.0 and the Connecting Canadians program, both of which have resulted in patchwork solutions that left many Canadians underserved.

While Internet packages boasting top advertised speeds have gone down in price since the CRTC’s last review on broadband Internet five years ago, low speed and cost Internet service plans have gone up in price significantly— a problem adversely affecting the most vulnerable Canadians, including those with severe disabilities and children in low income families.

In late April, the CRTC also encouraged parties participating in the hearing to“explore elements that should be included in a national broadband strategy for Canada.”

In response to this, OpenMedia has put forth a series of recommendations, many of which have been derived from the spirit of our crowd-sourced study “Casting an Open Net: A Leading-Edge Approach to Canada’s Digital Future,” published in May 2011.   

Read our full submission below and tell us what you think in the comments!

Our next big challenge is around Net Neutrality and zero-rating. The Commission announced May 18 they would hold a hearing on October 31st, and are taking public comments until June 17.

Right out of the gate, we will be asking for four things:

  • Put an end to data caps;

  • Outlaw zero-rating;

  • Ensure there are mechanisms for enforcement and transparency; and

  • Maintain no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization.

Your OpenMedia team is working on putting a campaign together, so watch this space in early June for more on what you can do to weigh in.

Click on the submission to read it full screen. 

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