Big Step Forward, But the Meter Continues...
According to the Globe, "The Harper government will overturn the CRTC’s decision that effectively ends “unlimited use” Internet plans if the regulator doesn’t rescind the decision itself."
Industry Minister Tony Clement made the surprise announcement late Wednesday night via his closely-followed Twitter account.
“True. CRTC must go back to drawing board,” he tweeted after being asked if it was true the government would act “if the CRTC does not back down."
Given this ultimatum from the Tories, the options facing the independent regulator are to reconsider the ruling of its own volition or see the cabinet use its power to reverse it.
The usage-based billing rulings will be reviewed by the CRTC, or overturned by the government.
We're not at the finish line yet, but this is a massive win for all 330,000 of us who signed the Stop The Meter petition.
What we do not know:
1. Will the CRTC review all of its UBB decisions pertaining to indie ISPs, or just those pertaining to the specific billing rules?
2. Will UBB be suspended until the CRTC finishes its review?
3. Will the CRTC actually do a complete reversal in the end, or will they try to save face by doing a half-measured response (i.e. giving the indie ISPs a better deal on UBB, but not removing its imposition)?
What we do know:
1. From what the Globe reports, major telecom companies (Bell, Shaw, Rogers, Videotron), will still be allowed to impose UBB on their retail customers.
2. Big Telecom will now face more competition from indie ISPs who will, to some degree, be able to decide on their own pricing.
In short, this is an amazing and unprecedented victory for innovators, creators, and Canadians of all stripes.... but we are NOT at the finish line.
There is nothing that Big Telecom would like more than to change the channel on this debate. Let's take a minute to pat ourselves on the back, but not let this victory act as a veil over the work that still needs to be done.
The next round will likely be with the CRTC. We have momentum behind us, we have the government and major opposition parties behind us, we have over 330,000 of us who have taken a firm stand in favour of an accessible open Internet. If we keep the momentum going we can stop the meter, and fix the structural problems in our communications system.
Big Telecom lobbyists are waiting to go back to business as usual: the backroom meetings, the captured regulator, the uninformed citizenry. Let's not go back there -- this has been too fun.
We're almost where we want to be. Please keep raising awareness among your friends, family and networks -- let's continue to grow our community of supporters: www.StopTheMeter.ca
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
OpenMedia.ca is a national, non-partisan, non-profit public engagement organization working to advance and support an open and innovative communications system in Canada. Our primary goal is to increase public awareness and informed participation in Canadian media, cultural, information, and telecommunication policy formation.
About Stop The Meter
In October, Canadians were outraged by the news that the CRTC had decided to allow Bell and other big Internet service providers (ISPs) to impose new fees on independent ISPs – usage-based billing. Now every Internet user in Canada is likely to feel the sting of a less affordable Internet, and a less competitive Internet service market. Recognizing the importance of this issue, OpenMedia.ca launched the Stop The Meter campaign.
Since its inception, this multi-platform petition, based at http://www.StopTheMeter.ca and in French at http://openmedia.ca/compteur, become a record breaker and a game changer. Over 220,000 names have now been added to the website, Facebook, Twitter, and in print.
Past Press Releases about Internet Metering