Shaw to Revive the Metered Internet
April 24, 2011
Conference Call Reveals Executives Manipulating Customer Comments in Order to Justify Usage-Based Internet Fees
April 24, 2011 – A conference call between Shaw executives and shareholders reveals that the telecom giant has made plans to go ahead with the wildly unpopular metered Internet pricing scheme (usage-based billing).
Earlier this year, Shaw pulled back on the implementation of Internet metering after widespread public outcry over the move led nearly half a million Canadians to sign the Stop the Meter petition at http://stopthemeter.ca. In an attempt to restore their tarnished public image during the peak of the UBB fiasco, Shaw held consultations with customers after they were caught lowering usage caps and raising prices.
Many people from the pro-Internet community, including OpenMedia.ca staff, attended Shaw’s consultations and reported that there was near unanimous condemnation of adding new usage fees to Internet bills.
In the recent conference call, the telecom giant’s CEO Bradley S. Shaw flaunted Shaw’s dominance over Western Canada’s Internet service market as he told shareholders there was a ways to go before their customers would revolt against higher prices.
“We believe that we still have that [UBB] pricing power,” Shaw stated.
Through skewed language, the executives also misrepresented the views of their customers and argued that consumers were, in the end, happy with usage-based billing.
OpenMedia.ca’s founder Steve Anderson said today: “Shaw expects Canadians to forget the outcry surrounding usage-based billing. This display of hubris is insulting not only to those who attended the consultations, but also to the half-a-million citizens who added their names to the Stop The Meter petition.”
“Canadians already pay some of highest prices for the Internet in the industrialized world,” continued Anderson. “Whereas other countries are making the Internet cheaper and faster, Canada is moving backwards. This serves as a reminder that Big Telecom companies are not going to move on their own -- we need smart policy that restructures the telecom industry so it works for Canadians again.”
At this point in Canada’s electoral race, citizens have seen three parties firmly adopt stances against the new fees on Internet use: Green, NDP, and Liberal party leaders have signed on as pro-Internet candidates at http://openmedia.ca/candidate, thereby agreeing “to stop the pay meter on our Internet.”
While the NDP platform includes a promise to “prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs)” and the Liberal digital strategy “will oppose” UBB, the Conservative Party of Canada has remained eerily silent on this hot-button issue in the past several weeks.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
The full transcript of the Shaw conference call can be found here:
A recording of the call has been published here:
More notable quotes from Bradley S. Shaw - CEO
“...going to clarify our pricing and packaging plans probably in the late spring, probably May, early June.”
“We are of the mind that we have tremendous upside in terms of pricing power”
“What we've seen from that is a recognition that the principle of ‘if you use more, you should pay more’ holds true.”
OpenMedia.ca is a national, non-partisan, non-profit public engagement organization working to advance and support an open and innovative communications system in Canada. Our primary goal is to increase public awareness and informed participation in Canadian media, cultural, information, and telecommunications policy formation.
About Stop The Meter
In October, Canadians were outraged by the news that the CRTC had decided to allow Bell and other big Internet service providers (ISPs) to impose new fees on independent ISPs – usage-based billing. Now every Internet user in Canada is likely to feel the sting of a less affordable Internet, and a less competitive Internet service market. Recognizing the importance of this issue, OpenMedia.ca launched the Stop The Meter campaign.
Since its inception, this multi-platform petition, based at http://www.StopTheMeter.ca and in French at http://openmedia.ca/compteur, has become a record breaker and a game changer. Over 480,000 names have now been added to the website, Facebook, Twitter, and in print.
OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.
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