Why Canadians should be upset about the back door Internet price hike

In November, many in the pro-Internet community rightly celebrated the CRTC’s decision on usage-based billing (Internet metering)—it was a major milestone.

The Internet metering decision was fundamentally a step forward towards an open an affordable Internet in Canada. The structure and policy both make sense: the CRTC clearly made an attempt to apply a pricing model that is based on costs, and they rejected usage-based pricing outright.

The only issue is with the underlying infrastructure costs applied to independent Internet Service Providers. Indie ISPs now say Big Telecom (of course) has snuck punitive and greatly inflated costs into the CRTC’s new pricing model. They did this through complex policy submissions to the CRTC.

Big phone and cable companies lost the debate on Internet metering and now they’re trying to sneak pricing hikes in through the backdoor! If Big Telecom is allowed to determine pricing by misrepresenting the costs it takes to provide service we’re going to be right back in the place we started – with Big Telecom holding all the cards and charging us an arm and a leg for the Internet.

Small independent ISPs will have no choice but to pass any rising costs onto their customers or go out of business, which will make the Internet more expensive for all of us. Perhaps anticipating this, Bell Canada has also already announced unnecessary price hikes for its own customers.

We’re asking the CRTC to conduct a transparent audit and review of these costs before they are implemented. The Internet is the bedrock of a 21st century society and it’s absolutely critical that we get it right. We’ll also ask that annual costing reviews be conducted going forward—costs and technology are often changing (decreasing), so it’s important that the rates be reexamined regularly.

Some of you have expressed concerns about the new Big Telecom rates, and we want to give you an avenue to take action. Our telecom market is broken and it’s past time we got to work fixing it.

If you're concerned about the back door price hike you can send a message to policymakers about this at: http://openmedia.ca/hike

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