Internet advocates celebrate Obama’s move, and point to it as the type of action required to get Canada’s Internet rates and speeds on par with global counterparts.
January 14, 2015 – Internet advocates are celebrating this afternoon’s announcement from the Obama Administration pushing for common-sense steps to stop U.S. telecom giants from blocking American Internet users from more affordable Internet services. The news comes on the heels of the U.S. FCC increasing minimum Internet speeds over six times from 4Mbps to 25Mbps.
President Obama urged the FCC to override outdated laws in 19 states preventing independent options for Internet services, and called for new funding for municipal and rural broadband. Community-backed digital rights organization OpenMedia.ca says Canadian decision-makers should be embarrassed when comparing today’s announcement with Canada’s widely criticized and unambitious digital strategy, which set out minimum speeds of just 5 Mbps by 2019.
Within days of new copyright rules coming into force, U.S. copyright trolls started asking ISPs to pass on threatening and misleading messages to their customers. Copyright expert Michael Geist posted samples on his blog that threatened a $150,000 lawsuit and disconnection from the Internet – neither of which are possible under Canadian law.
The pricing changes could make access costs nearly double for smaller ISPs. Community-backed OpenMedia.ca sees this as an attempt to block Canadians from the few affordable alternatives they have. Right now, large incumbent telecom providers like Shaw control 90% of the residential broadband market. However, Shaw’s proposed 87.9% rate hike still needs to be approved by the CRTC.
Government needs to take action to prevent foreign Big Media companies from sending misleading notices that threaten $150,000 lawsuits and disconnection from the Internet
January 8, 2015 – Less than a week after new copyright rules went into effect in Canada, ISPs are already receiving notices from Big Media giants that contain misleading and threatening statements, according to top copyright expert Professor Michael Geist. In a blog this morning, Geist included a copy of one such notice that was forwarded to him by a Canadian ISP.
For example, where $60 a month purchased a 25 Mbps service in 2014, it will purchase just a 15 Mbps service in 2015 - a drop in speed of 40%. Existing customers will also experience steep 10% price hikes - or five times the rate of inflation. Responding to the news, OpenMedia’s Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:
“Canadians hoping to keep a lid on their household expenses as one of their New Year’s resolutions are in for a shock. When the rumour first broke, Shaw assured us that that this was all a big misunderstanding. Well the proof is in the pudding – and today Shaw served up some pretty expensive pudding. And, if history is any indication, others like Bell, Rogers, and Telus will soon follow. ”
In response to outcry for Canadians, Industry Canada has taken steps to ensure Canadians have greater access to affordable, independent wireless providers
December 18, 2014 – Industry Minister James Moore has announced new measures aimed at improving wireless service for Canadians. OpenMedia welcomes the announcement, which will reserve a larger section of valuable wireless spectrum for new, independent, affordable providers than ever before. The changes aim to increase the amount of spectrum available to independent providers from around 15% currently to nearly 25% by May 2015.