Tomorrow, we’re testifying at the CRTC to End Data Caps! Here’s how to follow us live
On Thursday, your OpenMedia team is testifying at the CRTC, calling on them to stand up for consumers and End Data Caps. Here’s how to stay in the loop.
There’s a real day-before-Christmas sense of excitement here at the OpenMedia office, as our team work to make final preparations for our big CRTC appearance tomorrow.
Yup, after six months of eagerly anticipating one of the most important CRTC hearings in years, tomorrow’s our big day: our team will testify before the CRTC to ask them to end data caps, and stand up for essential consumer protections that benefit us all. And we want you with us every step of the way!
Tomorrow’s public hearings start at 9am ET in Gatineau, Quebec. We’ll be preceded by our friends at Media Access Canada, so our precise start time will be determined by how long the Commission takes questioning them.
Speaking up for us will be our Executive Director Laura Tribe, Campaigns Director Josh Tabish, Digital Rights Specialist Katy Anderson, and our amazing external counsel Cynthia Khoo. Here’s how to follow all the excitement live:
Live Blog: We’ll be hosting a Live Blog right here at OpenMedia.org to provide you with regular updates on what’s happening in Gatineau as the morning develops.
Live Stream: CPAC are live-streaming the hearings all week on CPAC 2. It’s free and there’s no need for a cable subscription. You can access their live stream here: http://www.cpac.ca/en/direct/cpac2/
Last but not least, if you’re in the Gatineau/Ottawa area, why not come along and support our team in person? Just show up at 9am ET at Conference Centre, Phase IV, 140 Promenade du Portage, in Gatineau (just across the river from downtown Ottawa).
You can RSVP here to let us know you’ll be coming — and we’ll even have these awesome free t-shirts for our supporters:
(This is just the back, you’ll need to show up to see the front!)
Let’s quickly recap how we got here and why these hearings are so important:
The hearings were triggered due to attempts (specifically this) by big telecom companies to price certain apps and services differently than others, for example by excluding some services from data caps, while imposing punitive data charges on others. This is called “differential pricing” or “zero-rating.”
As our own Meghan Sali explained in a recent think piece, this is a terrible idea for consumers, because it interferes with consumer choice. TL;DR: once you pay for Internet, it should be up to you to use it as you see fit. Your telecom company shouldn’t be getting in the way and trying to force you to use some services over others.
It’s also a terrible idea for innovation: smart new startups (think: the next Netflix, or the next Spotify) could never get off the ground if they had to compete on a tilted playing field biased toward powerful incumbents.
Importantly, without data caps differential pricing would not occur. As recently published OpenMedia reports demonstrate (here and here), Canadians currently are subject to extremely low data caps and very high overage charges, especially when compared with the rest of the industrialized world. That’s why we’ll be asking the CRTC to abolish data caps entirely, to ensure Canada can finally start catching up with our counterparts elsewhere in the industrialized world (e.g. the UK, where phone plans with unlimited data can be had for just $30 a month).
Last week, a CRTC study revealed that data usage surged 40 per cent in the past 12 months — so there’s clearly a massive appetite out there from Canadians who just want to be able to use the Internet without needing to worry about ridiculous data caps or extortionate overage fees.
This is why, in a nutshell, axing those data caps is our Big Ask when we go before the CRTC tomorrow.
Finally, we’re so grateful to the over 55,000 of you who have joined our call to End Data Caps. When we testify tomorrow, we’ll be standing on the shoulders of each and every one of you — it’s enormous public support like this that really makes decision-makers sit up and take notice.
So a huge thank you from our small team to all of you who have supported this campaign. We couldn’t be more grateful, and we hope we’ll do you proud tomorrow. And, if you’ve yet to do so, you can still add your name right here.
Okay, that’s it from me for now. We’ll be up with our live blog and live tweeting early tomorrow — and we’ll also update you after the hearings with a recap of the big developments and what comes next.