03 February 2011

CRTC, UBB and a Response from my MP

Am glad the CRTC has been ordered to review (read: 'reverse') its decision on usage-based Internet billing. But I won't be happy until the CRTC has gone the way of the dinosaurs, just like the dinosaurs its morphed mandate has been so busy protecting.

That aside, I wanted to share this great letter I received from my MP, NDP Jean Crowder, written in response to my terse email regarding the CRTC's UBB decision:

Thank you for writing to me about the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision to allow usage based Internet billing. Put simply, this issue has been brewing for a long time. Canadians are paying more and more for less and less service.

The New Democrats have been pushing for the last number of years for a coherent digital innovation policy. The government has preferred to let the "market" make the decisions about access, speed and pricing for internet use. The problem is that we don't have an open, competitive market. We have a small oligarchy of vertically-integrated companies that control virtually every aspect of consumer-media use. The opportunities for price gouging and anti-competitive practices are obvious.

We welcome the Industry Minister's sudden change of heart on usage-based internet billing. As my colleague, Charlie Angus pointed out in the House of Commons, "Canada used to be a world leader in terms of internet access and speed. Under this government, we've fallen behind. If the CRTC's decision on usage-based billing is not overturned, Canada is in danger of becoming a digital backwater."

While the Minister of Industry has said he will review the usage-based billing decision, more action is needed to protect consumers who are already being hit with capped internet service. The large internet service providers and broadcast entities restrict competition by limiting access to their networks - not only to internet users but to their competitors as well.

I appreciate you taking the time let your views be known. It helps me in my work as a Member of Parliament. The New Democratic Party will continue to push for better access and digital rights for Canadians.

Jean Crowder, MP Nanaimo-Cowichan
101-126 Ingram St., Duncan, BC, V9L 1P1

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