Greens Reject CRTC’s Usage-Based Billing Decision
OTTAWA - The Green Party of Canada urges the Minister of Industry to reverse the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) January 25th decision, and to fully review all related rulings. The CRTC's decision abandoned Canadians in favour of big business by allowing large Canadian ISPs to charge gross overage fees. By limiting the pricing options of smaller ISPs using their network, the CRTC has effectively crippled small businesses who provide valuable Internet services to thousands of Canadians.
"Although the government has invested limited dollars into building and maintaining the infrastructure, last month's decision by the CRTC clearly demonstrates that the net belongs to a small number of corporations," said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. "We need a full review to reverse years of regulatory neglect and decisions that has led to this monopolized market."
Where Canadian businesses once led the way in developing a telecommunications infrastructure, these same ISPs are now curbing competition. We need to guard against this abuse of dominant power and stimulate competition.
"We should listen to the many Canadians that have used tools such as Openmedia.ca's "Stop the Meter" campaign to voice their concerns," said Emma Jane Hogbin, Green Party Science and Technology critic.
"The relationship between Gateway Access Service (GAS) providers, their wholesale providers and their downstream consumers is complex. Infrastructure costs money to maintain, and businesses cannot provide exceptional service on a shoestring budget," emphasized Ms. Hogbin. "We need to find a pricing model which reflects the true costs of our high bandwidth consumers and which does not discourage small businesses from entering into the telecommunications market."
The Green Party supports the principle of Fair Usage Based Billing (FUBB) for Internet services. Because bandwidth is limited, providers should be allowed to charge more to consumers who use more. If implemented correctly, FUBB would provide improved Internet access to Canadians by giving ISPs a way to curb the consumption of the very few who consume at the highest levels. However, CRTC's recent ruling does not foster a fair market environment, rather it assures the dominant providers their lion's share of the market.
More competition and investment in the Canadian telecommunications industry is required to ensure that Canadian business and consumers are able to compete in the global market with a world-class communications infrastructure.
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