OpenMedia.ca: CRTC's Stubbornness Adds More Fuel to Public Discontent

CRTC Chair Defends UBB Decision at Industry Committee Meeting amidst Backlash

February 3, 2011 – One would have thought that CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein was goading the over 400,000 Stop The Meter petition signatories as he testified before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology yesterday evening.

The Chair, along with Vice Chair Len Katz, stood by the CRTC’s decision to allow large ISPs to force usage-based billing (Internet metering) on their customers and independent competitors. This provoked strong reactions from politicians from every party who, in stride with the citizens who participated in the Stop The Meter campaign, criticized the decision for so clearly pandering to big industry and ignoring citizens’ interests.

OpenMedia.ca’s founder and national coordinator Steve Anderson was baffled and bemused as the von Finckenstein and Katz dug themselves deeper:

“The CRTC’s stubbornness in the face of a mass public outcry demonstrates the strength of the Big Telecom lobby’s influence,” said Anderson. “While government officials have recognized the need to protect citizens’ communications interests, the CRTC has made it clear that their priorities lie elsewhere. Now is the time for citizens to demonstrate that they, rather than incumbent ISPs, are the real stakeholders.”

The CRTC’s stance has added yet more fuel to the Stop The Meter campaign, which is already historic in magnitude. Several rallies in cities including Montreal and Ottawa will continue as planned this weekend, beginning with a demonstration in Toronto today.

OpenMedia.ca has set a new goal for the petition at http://www.StopTheMeter.ca: one million names. The engagement group holds that further success will come from Canadians who spread the word within their communities.

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Contact

Lindsey Pinto
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
778-238-7710
lindsey@openmedia.ca

More on the February 3 Meeting

Watch: http://parlvu.parl.gc.ca/ParlVu/ContentEntityDetailView.aspx?ContentEnti...

Select Quotes:
Von Finckenstein: "Heavy users pay for their heavy use. We want to make sure the innocent users don't have to.”

When asked “"It is making people pay for what they use allowing the ISPs to make more money and build their capacity?” von Finckenstein replied, “If the ISP makes more income to create more capacity. How else would they use that money?”

When asked, “How do you respond to the 350,000+ people who signed an online petition to have your decision quashed?” von Finckenstein replied, “That is the awesome power of the Internet.”

About 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 400,000 names have now been added to the website, Facebook, Twitter, and in print.

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