Canada Access Internet Choice & Affordability Wireless

OpenMedia to make definitive case to end data caps and ban differential pricing at CRTC hearings on Thursday

Canadians experience some of the lowest data caps and highest overage charges in the industrialized world, despite CRTC figures showing data usage surged 40% last year

WHAT: On Thursday, OpenMedia will testify at a high-profile Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing that could shape how Canadians use the Internet for years to come.

The CRTC is examining whether telecom companies should be permitted to engage in differential pricing (a.k.a. zero-rating). This occurs when a telecom provider selects certain apps and services that are priced differently than others — for example, by not counting against a customer’s data cap.

The CRTC will also hear testimony on the issue of data caps because without data caps differential pricing could not occur. As recently published OpenMedia reports demonstrate (here and here), Canadians currently experience extremely low data caps and very high overage charges, especially when compared with the rest of the industrialized world. Last week, a CRTC study revealed that data usage surged 40% in the past 12 months.

WHERE: The CRTC hearings take place at Conference Centre, Phase IV, 140 Promenade du Portage, in Gatineau, Quebec. (map)

WHEN: OpenMedia’s presentation takes place between approximately 9am and 12pm Eastern Time on Thursday November 3.*

*NOTE: While the hearing begins at 9am ET on Thursday, OpenMedia is the second presenter following Media Access Canada. Thus, OpenMedia’s precise start time is determined by how long the Commission takes with Media Access Canada.

WHO: OpenMedia’s testimony will be presented by:

  • Digital Rights Specialist Katy Anderson

  • External Counsel Cynthia Khoo

  • Campaigns Director Josh Tabish

  • Executive Director Laura Tribe

Our on-the-ground team will be available for media interviews following their presentation. Please phone David Christopher at +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0 to arrange.

WHY:

On Thursday, OpenMedia will argue that:

  • Differential pricing is anti-consumer and anti-innovation and Canada should put a stop to it.

  • Data caps should be abolished: they are used as a pricing tool far more than a traffic management tool. Canadians should be able to use the Internet without being held hostage to constant overcharges and higher-than-expected bills.

  • Canada’s pro-consumer Net Neutrality rules should be upheld, and we need strong mechanisms to ensure telecom providers stick by the rules, along with meaningful penalties when those rules are broken.

Over 55,000 Canadians have endorsed OpenMedia’s position by signing this petition or by sending unique feedback using this tool.

QUOTE:

“Canadians experience some of the lowest data caps at some of the highest prices in the industrialized world. That’s why we’re asking the CRTC to step in and provide relief. We need to bring Canada into line with our global counterparts by ensuring all Canadians can access unlimited Internet at a reasonable price.” - Katy Anderson, Digital Rights Specialist, OpenMedia

"Zero-rating is not the only way. If ISPs want to innovate, there are countless paths open to them, which do not come with the same risks and collateral damage that zero-rating does." - Cynthia Khoo, External Counsel, OpenMedia

DOCUMENTS:

OpenMedia’s first intervention to CRTC hearing 2016-192 (PDF)

OpenMedia’s second intervention to CRTC hearing 2016-192 (PDF)

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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