It's about time someone spoke up on this bullshit! I just hope it's not fucking lip service again from politicians looking for votes for the impending election and it gets lost by the way side when they get elected again.
Richard J. Brennan Ottawa Bureau
OTTAWA—The Harper government strongly hinted Tuesday Ottawa will reverse a CRTC ruling significantly driving up the cost of using the Internet that has consumers and businesses fuming.
“I can certainly undertake to you that this is a top priority for me and my department,” Industry Minister Tony Clement told reporters about a review ordered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“What we’re concerned with and what the Prime Minister is concerned with is the impact on consumers and that is why we’re going to be reviewing this thoroughly,” PMO director of communications Dimitri Soudas said in one news report.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision has sparked outrage across the country with Canadians rushing to sign petitions asking the Conservative government to reverse it.
“We’re very concerned about this ruling by the CRTC. We’re concerned about how it impacts on consumers, on small business operators, on entrepreneurs, on creators, all Canadians . . . I will be reviewing this decision very, very quickly and will be making recommendations very, very shortly,” Clement told reporters.
“We feel very strongly that we need more competition, we need more consumer choice, we need more choices for small business owners and operators and our entrepreneurs and our creators.”
At a time when businesses and consumers are increasingly relying in the Internet to download videos, documents and even software, Bell Canada, Shaw Communications Inc., and other major players have been given the go ahead to charge users extra when they exceed monthly limits.
Consumers’ Association of Canada president Bruce Cran said it’s the same old story of “gouging” by Canada’s communications companies that have a lock on the market.
“It’s another example of the consumers being gouged by the CRTC decisions in favour of the big providers of Internet servers,” Cran told the Toronto Star.
The CRTC decision also negatively affects the smaller Internet providers that lease space on networks and offer so-called unlimited plans without downloading caps.
Don Kelly, senior vice-president of legislative affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), said the Internet is an indispensable tool for businesses across Canada and that the CFIB was sending a letter to the government asking that the CRTC decision be struck down.
“So we have a large number of businesses very worried about an element of their cost structure rising significantly and not having a clue what that might be,” Kelly said.
As for the small Internet providers, Kelly said, “This would really cut into their ability to tailor packages suited to other clients, so we are very worried this will be really big step backwards in terms of a competitive Internet provision perspective in Canada.”
NDP critic MP Charlie Angus said the CRTC decision emphasizes that Canadian are held hostage by a handful of companies.
“We have a family compact (of) about three companies that now control your cellphones, they control your internet, they control your viewing because they now control the television networks and we are paying through the nose for it. We need competition and we need the CRTC to stand up for consumers,” he said.
Liberal MP Dan McTeague warned MPs that independent service providers “will be forced out of the market if the CRTC’s decision on usage based billing is permitted.”
The CRTC could not be reached for comment.