Complaints about Internet openness still coming in strong
The CRTC’s figures for March show that, once again, complaints about ISPs’ Internet traffic management practices—deliberately slowing down online traffic, for example—are coming in strong. This despite the promise made by Bell to stop throttling, and the subsequent same promise from Rogers following the exposure of their breach of Internet openness rules.
In fact, both of the mentioned telecom giants made this year's list of the world's worst throttlers—the second year in a row for Bell and the fourth for Rogers.
There is a bright side, however. The steady flow of complaints could be an indication of increasingly strong public knowledge about Internet service issues. This means the pro-Internet community is having an effect, and growing more confident about making our voices heard.
The CRTC’s numbers indicate another positive: the Commission is listening to Canadians. Commenting on the spike in complaints reported in early February, law professor Michael Geist commended the CRTC for their increased transparency regarding the number of complaints received and enforcement actions taken, telling Postmedia News, “I think the public is more aware of the rules and the value of filing complaints.”
Although the CRTC has, as of late, been tougher on ISPs that violate Internet openness rules, Canada clearly still has a long way to go before we have adequate protections for online choice and innovation. The CRTC still doesn’t perform audits to ensure ISPs comply with traffic management rules—it’s all up to users to report possible violations—nor does it have the ability to dole out strong monetary penalties.
But change is in the air. If Canadians continue to stay engaged in these kinds of Internet governance issues, we can continue to move toward our goal of an open digital future.
Learn more about Internet openness in Canada, and keep fighting for it by visiting http://openmedia.ca/saveournet