Let’s end data caps — add your voice as we urge the CRTC to honour the spirit of Net Neutrality
Internet users are mobilizing to seek end to data caps, as new report reveals how Canadians are getting a raw deal on both wired and wireless services.
We all know what it's like to run out of data on our cell phone and be faced with steep overage fees or — *gasp* — be relegated to text messages and calls.
In Canada, data caps have long been one of the most reviled features of our broken telecom market, but a just-announced Internet pricing consultation by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) could put an end to them. The hearing, which has the idea of Net Neutrality at its heart, represents the best chance in a generation to ban Internet service providers from capping customers’ web usage.
Big Telecom companies have long touted data caps as a tool to ease network congestion, while what they really do is price-gouge a captive market. Don’t believe us? Just ask CEOs of American telecoms, who have made the news recently for admitting that even as network infrastructure costs drop every year, prices have been rising.
Let’s put an end to this. If we believe the Internet should be treated as an essential part of our everyday lives — like roads, water, and telephones — then Canadians of all income brackets should have equal opportunity to access it, and at fair prices.
Let’s use this important hearing to make sure we are no longer faced with needing to use the Internet less — less connecting with others, less learning about the world we live in, less entertainment — or with paying some of the most expensive bills in the industrialized world.
The first crucial deadline in this hearing is June 28 — meaning we need to act fast to have an impact.
Endorse our letter to the CRTC here— add your voice, so we can put it on the public record, and work with experts, academics and open Internet and consumer advocates to come up with a plan on how best to turn consumers’ asks for “lower cell phone bills” into specific, actionable policies for all of us.
Today, we also published a new report revealing just how our biggest telecoms employ data caps. For home Internet, the smallest packages start at just 20GB, or just 45 minutes a day of standard video streaming.
Our report also reveals just what a raw deal Canadians are getting on data caps compared with other countries. For wired Internet, data caps in most of the industrialized world are unheard of, whereas for wireless Internet data caps elsewhere are far more generous, with unlimited plans easily available.
For too long, the telecom giants have used every excuse in the book to justify these unfair caps. But the reality is they’re using these caps to discourage cord-cutting and keep Canadians trapped in expensive cable TV packages that represent terrible value for money. We need the CRTC to step in and put a stop to this price-gouging.
Our letter to the CRTC sets out a four-point action plan, including:
END DATA CAPS: The CRTC should entirely prohibit data caps for wired Internet, along with the overage charges that go with them. For wireless, they should bring Canadian data caps into line with international counterparts such as the U.K., by ensuring that everyone has access to an unlimited option at a reasonable price.
BAN ZERO-RATING: Prevent telecom giants from using their power to unfairly privilege certain apps and services over others. Customers, not telecom companies, should be the ones deciding what we read and watch online.
TRANSPARENCY AND ENFORCEMENT MECHANISMS: Strong, transparent mechanisms to ensure telecom providers comply with Net Neutrality rules, and meaningful penalties for when those rules are broken.
UPHOLD NET NEUTRALITY: Canadians have already fought for and won open Internet rules to prevent Big Telecom from restricting our access to online services. We even flew in some of the original architects of the Internet to the 2009 CRTC hearing where those rules were made. The CRTC should uphold those positive pro-customer rules.
Canadians can speak out and join the campaign at act.openmedia.org/datacaps