Consumer advocates highlight industry support for ending data caps and upholding Net Neutrality in CRTC consultation
Rogers’ opposition to zero-rating and moves by U.S. firms Netflix and T-Mobile suggest Canadian telecoms should follow their lead and offer unlimited data plans
September 21, 2016– Over 42,000 Canadians are calling for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to end data caps and uphold Net Neutrality as part of a much-watched CRTC consultation. Today OpenMedia placed their unique perspectives on the record of the CRTC’s consultation through its End Data Caps campaign, and included a policy submission consistent with Internet users’ priorities to assist the CRTC’s decision-making.
The digital rights group highlights industry support for the priorities of concerned Internet users, including Rogers Communications’ opposition to the controversial practice of “zero-rating,” where certain apps are exempted from wireless data caps. The group also notes recent moves by U.S. firms Netflix and T-Mobile pushing unlimited data, and worries that Canada’s network quality will continue to fall behind since billing practices like data caps and zero-rating discourage mobile providers from meeting customer demand for wireless data.
“With U.S. firms like T-Mobile and Netflix pushing towards unlimited data, Canadians may be wondering: Why can’t we have nice things, too?” said Katy Anderson, OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist. “If there’s one thing that every Internet user hates, it’s data caps. Between Rogers opposing zero-rating, and Netflix and T-Mobile moving to end data caps, shareholders of Bell and Telus may be curious why the telcos are dragging their feet to give customers what they want.”
Based on feedback from Canadians, the key asks in OpenMedia’s submission to the CRTC include:
End Data Caps: We’re asking the CRTC to put an end to all data caps for residential Internet, and to provide relief from oppressively low wireless data caps. At a minimum, all Canadians should have an unlimited wireless data option at a reasonable price (e.g., in the UK unlimited plans are available from the equivalent of about $30 a month).
Ban Zero Rating: Prevent telecom providers from using unfairly privileging certain apps and services over others. Internet users should decide what we read and watch online.
Transparency and Enforcement mechanisms: We need strong mechanisms to ensure telcos stick by the rules, and meaningful penalties when those rules are broken.
Uphold Net Neutrality: Canadians have already fought for and won open Internet rules to prevent Big Telecom from restricting our access to online services.
Over 42,000 Canadians have participated OpenMedia’s End Data Caps campaign, while 5607 of them have placed unique testimonials on the public record. Some of the testimonials being submitted to the CRTC today are:
John from Calgary, Alberta said: “I am opposed to data caps because I homeschool 3 children, and they are always downloading their lessons, assignments, and projects from the internet. If they have to pay a fee for downloading the ""data"", then the cost would be impossible to pay.”
Sharon from Penticton, B.C. said: “Telecom giants should not be permitted to “zero-rate” data. This makes websites they don’t like slower and more expensive to access. It’s unfair, and bad for innovation and free expression online.”
Andrew from Peterborough, Ontario said: “Internet should be compared to hydro. They're both services you have to pay for monthly. They're both considered essential to modern life. Can you imagine saying something like, "I need to buy another ice block for the fridge because I washed too much laundry and went over my power cap."
Canadians are continuing to call for action on data caps at https://act.openmedia.org/datacaps/comment