By Josh Tabish
May 11, 2016
OpenMedia original article
Huge win for Canadians, as Minister Bains rejects Bell Canada’s attempt to block small providers from ultra-fast Fibre Internet
This morning marks a critical moment for independent, high-speed fibre Internet access in Canada. In a statement released earlier today, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Navdeep Bains, upheld a landmark CRTC decision that will ensure Canadians can access next generation fibre Internet through a wide range of affordable, independent providers.
Within days of last year’s federal election, Bell filed an appeal with the new government urging it to overturn the CRTC decision. This move sparked a nationwide campaign that saw nearly 80,000 Canadians sign our Internet Emergency petition to the minister — and we’re so thankful for the support of each and every one of you! Isn’t it just amazing what our community can do when we stand together?
The last few months have also seen high-profile debates at Toronto and Ottawa councils, and interventions from a diverse range of businesses, experts, local governments, and other organizations calling on Minister Bains to reject Bell’s appeal.
It’s difficult to overstate how important a win this is for the future of Canada’s Internet. For Canadians, this will mean more affordable access to fibre Internet which, outside of Canada, is the Internet of today, not of tomorrow. And it means that our much-needed independent providers can operate fairly on a more level playing field with Canada’s incumbent telcos.
All along we’ve described this as a litmus test for the new minister, and this morning we’re happy to commend him for listening to Canadians and doing the right thing. We know from experience that this won’t be the last time a powerful telecom giant like Bell tries to unfairly tilt the playing field in its favour, and we look forward to working with Minister Bains to ensure he continues listening to Canadians wanting affordable Internet choice.
The CRTC’s original decision to ensure independent providers could offer service through fibre networks was announced in July 2015, following a lengthy year-long process that heard from a wide range of industry groups, telecom providers, consumer advocates, and other organizations – including OpenMedia, who participated extensively throughout the original consultation.
Bell filed a petition to Cabinet within days of October’s federal election asking the new government to overturn the CRTC ruling. If Bell had succeeded, Canadian households and businesses wanting ultra-fast fibre Internet would have been forced to purchase the extremely expensive services provided by Canada’s large providers, instead of through more affordable alternatives. Smaller, affordable independent providers would have found it hard to survive in such a climate.
Right now, our small team here at OpenMedia is just delighted at this big win, and we couldn’t be more grateful to the 79,041 of you who spoke out through our Internet Emergency petition - we simply couldn’t have done it without you!
Stay tuned to this website and our Facebook page for more on what this win means for the future of our Internet.
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