The Future of Canada's Internet

  Tell the government: We need an open, affordable and innovative Internet

Canada’s communications laws are up for review – and so is the future of our Internet. The government’s expert review panel is going to recommend changes to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts. But first, they’re accepting submissions from the public until January 11, 2019.

This is our best chance in decades to put the public interest at the heart of the laws that govern Canada’s Internet.1 But we also know Big Telecom’s working hard to undo the protections we already have. If we can show how many people support an open, affordable, surveillance-free Internet in Canada, we can put your needs at the heart of Canada’s telecommunications system.

We’ve compiled the top issues that the OpenMedia community has advocated for over the years, and collected them in our submission below.

Add your voice: Tell the government’s expert review panel we need an open, affordable, innovative Internet in Canada.

Click here to read the letter

Dear Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review panel,

I am a concerned citizen who would like to emphasize the importance of the following issues as part of the review of Canada’s Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts:

Internet Affordability

Canada currently pays some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for what is widely recognized as sub-par service. The Internet is not a luxury in the 21st century, it’s a basic service.

The current Telecommunications Act includes the objective: “to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada.” But this objective remains far from a reality for many throughout Canada. Until the government steps in with a clear plan and budget to make this happen, it’s nothing but wishful thinking.

We cannot afford any additional taxes and levies that would increase the cost of connectivity, including an Internet Tax, Netflix Tax or a Copyright Tax on broadband use.

Internet Access

We need access to quality networks throughout Canada – not just in urban centres. It’s time to bridge Canada’s digital divide. Waiting for market forces to address underserved people in Canada simply has not worked. The government of Canada must commit serious funding to a thorough national broadband strategy. For reference, CBC is subsidized at $35 per person and broadband funding is about $2.25.*

Without government investment and prioritization, people in Canada will continue to struggle to get online with quality and affordable access.

Net Neutrality

Under no circumstances can we afford to let our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) pick and choose what we can and cannot see and do online. Canada has a long history of Net Neutrality. But right now, our only protections for Net Neutrality come from a handful of historical CRTC decisions about Net Neutrality – not the rules themselves. The current framework leaves the door open for Net Neutrality violations that are perfectly legal.

Net Neutrality must be enforced with clear common carriage rules, which dictate all content to be treated equally. The rules must be applied without exception, and before any abuses by Big Telecom take place. This also means the government should reject website blocking proposals like Bell-led “FairPlay Canada,” which would violate Net Neutrality principles and create a dangerous precedent for other censorship plans.

More Choice of Providers

Big Telecom’s current stronghold on our telecom market has resulted in some of the highest prices in the world, and limited choice in providers, plans, and quality of service. We need choice in our telecom markets to allow people to pick the providers that work best for them. More choice equals more flexibility, more affordability, and the freedom to ensure we’re getting the services we need from the provider we choose.

If we don’t increase competition in the marketplace, we’re going to need structural separation to break up the vertically integrated conglomerates, to ensure greater choice and competition, and clear delineation of interests between the different segments of the companies.

Please take the above concerns into account as you review Canada’s Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts, and ensure any recommendations put forward put the public interest at the heart of Canada’s communications laws.

Sincerely,

This campaign is hosted by OpenMedia. We will protect your privacy, and keep you informed about this campaign and others. Find OpenMedia's privacy policy here.

The review of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts will make or break the rules that govern the Internet in Canada, so we need to make sure our voices are reflected loud and clear. We can’t let Big Telecom set the agenda. The expert review panel’s recommendations will shape the rules that govern Canada’s communications systems for years to come.

We must fight to keep and strengthen some of the world renowned aspects of Canada’s telecom policies, such as our protections for Net Neutrality.

This is our best chance to ensure that future policies better address universal and affordable Internet access for everyone in Canada, that we protect Net Neutrality, and create communications laws that put the public interest first.

Don’t miss out – take action now!

This action is hosted by:

Footnotes:

[1] Responding to the New Environment: A Call for Comments: Government of Canada
*For further reading on transport and communications evidence, including government funding of the CBC and broadband visit the Senate of Canada's page

 

If you haven't taken action yet click here.

 

 

 

Press: Laura Tribe | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0 | Office: +1 (844) 891-5136 | laura@openmedia.org