By Michael Geist
May 31, 2017
Article from Michael Geist
Violating Net Neutrality is not a Good Way to Promote Canadian Content
In the aftermath of last month’s CRTC’s zero rating decision, there have been several pieces in the Globe and Mailraising the possibility that Canadian cultural policy might benefit from zero rating Cancon. In other words, rather than rely on net neutrality rules (including restrictions on zero rating) to ensure that Canadian content benefits from a level playing field, perhaps it would be even better to tilt the rules in favour of Cancon by mandating that domestic content not count against monthly data caps.
The issue was raised during the CRTC zero rating hearing as Canadian Media Producers Association argued that:
the Commission should be open to considering ways in which differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans could be used to promote the discoverability of and consumer access to Canadian programming.
The CRTC rejected the argument, concluding that “any benefits to the Canadian broadcasting system would generally not be sufficient to justify the preference, discrimination, and/or disadvantage created by such practices.” In response, anti-net neutrality advocate Roslyn Layton argued that Canada should exempt Canadian content from data charges, an idea picked up by Kate Taylor and Robert Everett-Green.
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