By Aleks Besan
November 3, 2016
“Listen to Canadians, Aim Higher for Canada, and Protect Innovation for All” — OpenMedia at today’s #EndDataCaps CRTC hearings
Your OpenMedia team was at it again this morning, making history at the CRTC hearings in Gatineau, where we mounted a strong defence of Net Neutrality and called for an end to data caps for Canadian Internet users. Here is your quick summary of today’s major events.
Appearing in front of CRTC Chairman, Jean-Pierre Blais and his fellow commissioners, our dream team of Executive Director Laura Tribe, Campaigns Director Josh Tabish, Digital Rights Specialist Katy Anderson, and our incredibly smart external counsel Cynthia Khoo presented a stellar case to end data caps, ban differential pricing (a.k.a. zero-rating), and stand up for Canadian consumers.
Importantly, Cynthia, Katy, Josh, and Laura were standing on the shoulders of the over 55,000 of you who spoke up — we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who took part and helped us shape a compelling crowd-sourced case against zero-rating and data caps.
We’re especially thankful to our many supporters who showed up to support us in person — you really made us feel ten feet tall! We organized these t-shirts as a memento of the occasion and as a small way for us to say thanks:
So, what went down? Well, our team delivered three clear asks to the CRTC Commissioners, based on all the feedback we’ve been hearing from you over recent weeks and months:
FIRST, LISTEN TO CANADIANS: Citizens clearly want an end to data caps and strong rules to prevent anti-consumer differential pricing practices. Over 52,000 called for this through our petition, with a further 6,000 submitting detailed unique comments using our tool.
SECOND, AIM HIGHER FOR CANADA'S FUTURE: Resolving the root problem of data caps will incentivize more investment in Canada's telecom infrastructure and networks.
— OpenMedia (@OpenMediaOrg) November 3, 2016
THIRD, PROTECT INNOVATION FOR ALL: Data caps and anti-competitive behaviour like zero-rating stymie innovation and make the Internet more like cable TV.
— Meghan Sali (@megasali) November 3, 2016
And, to quote Erica, an Open Media supporter:
“Canadians are not allowed to compete globally within a data cap system.”
We made the case that painfully low data caps (and their associated steep overage fees) amount to a serious free expression problem. Data caps are obscuring the true picture of Internet use in Canada by imposing an artificial limit that makes it difficult for Canadians to use the Internet without the fear of incurring high fees. Many Canadians are therefore needlessly self-censoring. As Matt from Ontario reminds us: “Data is not a nonrenewable resource.”
Without data caps, we can ensure that ISPs in Canada embrace user-driven service and, as our Digital Rights Specialist Katy put it, “compete on the quality of the Internet itself.” This is especially relevant given the clear evidence coming out of the CRTC itself last week in a report that showed a 40% year-on-year increase in data usage nationally.
Canadians deserve unlimited Internet access. Data caps and anti-innovation practices such as differential pricing are actively holding Canadians back. At Open Media, we are looking for solutions to ensure that affordable unlimited options are available to all Internet users -- join us!
If you haven’t done so already, sign our petition to #EndDataCaps now! And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for further developments following today’s hearing. And, as ever, thank you for standing with us and with the open Internet!
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