CRTC decision may limit innovation, free speech
(Feb. 9) A national coalition of Internet democracy watchdogs are urging Canadians to get involved in the debate over Canada’s open Internet and “Net Neutrality” – before a vital February 16 deadline.
The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is investigating the controversial practice of “throttling” or deliberately slowing down Canadians’ Internet speeds. Several large Canadian internet service providers have been caught throttling consumers and competitors in recent months, including a high-profile case involving Bell Canada in November. February 16 is the last day for the public to submit their own comments and arguments to the commission on the issue, online or at http://saveournet.ca/content/take-action
SaveOurNet.ca, a coalition of media watchdogs, industry and public interest groups, says the debate pits the interests of monopoly against the larger interests of Canadian innovation, democracy, and a healthy 21st century economy.
SaveOurNet.ca Co-founder Steve Anderson said today, “there needs to be some basic rules in place to protect Canadian citizens and businesses from being unfairly throttled, blocked or squeezed out by a few telecom giants. If we don’t protect the Internet’s level playing field from unfair monopoly – as the U.S. and other countries now are – Canadian innovation and new media will lose out.”
Considering the challenges facing our economy, we should actively support our home grown social, cultural, and economic innovation, not punish it by allowing big telecommunication companies to strangle the lifeblood of innovation - the open Internet.
The complaints to the CRTC over throttling come at a time of growing public frustration with Canada’s large telecom companies, including recent class-action lawsuits, websites and Facebook groups protesting cellphone rates, and a public rally on Parliament Hill against throttling last spring.
A handful of large phone and cable companies dominate over 90% of Canada’s broadband market, leaving consumers with few choices, some of the highest prices in the industrialized world, and mounting evidence that Canada is falling behind other countries in broadband adoption, speed and affordability.
The movement to protect an open Internet recently received a high-profile boost in the U.S., where President Barack Obama and the new chair of the FCC both publicly support Net Neutrality.
SaveOurNet.ca co-founder Steve Anderson said today, “We applaud the CRTC for taking this issue on. Canadians need to encourage the CRTC to consider the bigger picture of monopoly versus innovation. We should protect a basic principle that has been spectacularly good for the Internet in Canada and around the world. Now more than ever, we need to spur innovation and access to information – not choke it off.”
Canadians can send their comments to CRTC by visiting: http://saveournet.ca/content/take-action
For more information contact:
Steve Anderson Co-founder SaveOurNet.ca (604) 837-5730 [email protected] http://saveournet.ca