Canadians Reach Out to Over 500,000 on Twitter to Protest Internet Fees
Internet Flooded with Protests Against Usage-Based Billing
January 13, 2011 – Canadians across the country are using the Web to express outrage and raise awareness about new Internet usage fees (usage-based billing) set to take effect in the coming weeks. Citizens are finding creative ways to raise awareness about the impending fees by making YouTube videos, posting on Facebook, reaching out with Twitter, discussing and debating the fees on public forums, and passing around open letters to express themselves (find the links cataloged at the bottom of this release). All of this activity has led to over 30,000 people to sign the social-media-based Stop The Meter petition.
As calculated by Twitter petition site, Act.ly, Twitter users alone have shared information bout the issue and petition to 574,979 people at the time of this release. OpenMedia.ca estimates that a similar number of Canadians have been reached through Facebook.
The reach of these dissenting Canadians is a testament to the power of the Internet, and ought to serve as a reminder of why we must safeguard access to it.
This outpouring of sentiment is in response to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC’s) October decision to allow big telecom companies to impose “usage-based billing" on independent Internet service providers (ISPs). This decision paves the way for all incumbent ISPs to add new usage fees to Canadians’ Internet bills. Most importantly, it forces independent ISPs, whose competition normally serves as a check on the practices of Big Telecom, to adopt the same pricing as the big players.
Businesses of all sizes, independent media producers, and citizens alike feel that this new pricing regime unnecessarily renders the Internet less accessible, less affordable, and less open. Internet metering and bandwidth caps discourage Internet adoption and the proliferation of online content, and stifle economic growth.
"I've been involved in Internet governance issues for several years now and have never before seen such an outpouring of public sentiment", said Steve Anderson, OpenMedia.ca’s National Coordinator. “Citizens are rightfully troubled by roadblocks to the development of applications and services that drive experimentation, consumer choice and innovation online. We need to be expanding our digital economy, not shrinking it.”
"The personal comments online are often quite moving,” Anderson continued, “and they make clear the costs of imposing new Internet access fees on society. I hope the CRTC is watching"
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
OpenMedia.ca is a national, non-partisan, non-profit public engagement organization working to advance and support an open communications system in Canada. Representing over 450,000 Canadians OpenMedia.ca is Canada's largest network of organizations and people defending digital rights for Canadians.
Find us at http://openmedia.ca