Casting an Open Net in Ottawa
OpenMedia.ca met with eleven pro-Internet Members of Parliament Wednesday and Thursday in Ottawa to discuss our community-crafted research report, Casting An Open Net, and to highlight to lawmakers that Canadians want open, accessible, and affordable Internet access.
The following is a list of Members of Parliament who accepted our meeting invitations:
- Bruce Hyer (NDP, Thunder Bay Superior North)
- Frank Valeriote (Liberal, Guelph)
- Andrew Cash (NDP, Davenport)
- Joyce Murray (Liberal, Vancouver Quadra)
- Laurie Hawn (Conservative, Edmonton Centre)
- Geoff Reagan (Liberal, Halifax West, Critic for Industry and Consumer Affairs)
- Scott Brison (Liberal, Kings-Hants)
- Libby Davies (NDP, Vancouver East)
- Carol Hughes (NDP, Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing)
- Irene Mathyssen (NDP, London—Fanshawe)
- Elizabeth May (Green, Saanich--Gulf Islands—British Columbia)
And representatives from the offices of:
By all accounts, the meetings with the eleven MPs -- who represent all three official parties plus the Greens -- went exceptionally well. The common thread was a recognition among the MPs that Canadians are paying high prices for sub-par Internet access. Our goal was to outline tangible actions Parliament can take to help ensure all Canadians have equitable access to an open and affordable Internet.
Specifically, we called on elected representatives on Parliament Hill to stand up for Canadian Internet users by supporting a few of the key recommendations from the report, found in our Action Plan:
- The federal government should invest 2.2 billion (from spectrum auction proceeds) in 21st century Internet infrastructure — investment decisions should be guided by public interest criteria and made in consultation with citizens and, where appropriate, local governments.
- Mandate regular ISP openness audits, measuring:
- Traffic management practices
- Average speeds (Ofcom in the UK and the FCC in the US do this in various ways)
- Billing practices as set against costs (there have been stories of overbilling/mis-measuring usage by ISPs, etc.).
- Regional broadband speed levels
- In the interests of accountability and transparency, the government should show how all new CRTC appointments ranked in the overall scorecard based on the must-have and should-have criteria listed in the job postings. The criteria should include significant experience in the public interest or consumer advocacy community.
- The Government should include broader stakeholder and citizen participation in the appointment process of CRTC commissioners.
- Functional separation -- the separation of wholesale and retail Internet services -- should be adopted to enable ISP competition and choice.
MPs talked about different ways they could help support some or all of these goals, including writing letters to the CRTC, helping us meet with the Industry Committee, or identifying and contacting other potentially sympathetic MPs and letting their constituents know more about it so we can continue to apply public pressure.
You can read a post-MP meeting summary from a live-chat we had with open Internet supporters.
Thank you for everything you do -- and a special thanks to the 30 supporters who joined us for the live-chat, and asked such great questions.
- Reilly, Glyn & our friends at CIPPIC.
The report spends a few days on Parliament Hill, feeling important.