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They have given the thumbs up for Bell Canada and other big telecom companies to freely impose usage-based billing on independent Internet Service Providers (indie ISPs) and, by proxy, consumers.
Openmedia.ca, a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization, and the the primary organization behind the provocative SaveOurNet.ca coalition, who is working to advance and support an open and innovative communications system in Canada, is furious:
Big Telecom companies are obviously trying to gouge consumers, control the Internet market, and ensure that consumers continue to subscribe to their television services. This means we're looking at a future where ISPs will charge per byte, the way they do with smart phones. If we allow this to happen Canadians will have no choice but to pay more for less Internet.
This has as much to do with the lucrative TV industry making the shift to broadband, consumers cutting the cable, and control of the future revenue in this sector as it has to do with the sheer costs of building a viable broadband service in an enormous country (albeit very wealthy) with few people. Google, Apple, Samsung, Sony and other players vying for broadband distribution of TV into Canadian living rooms ought to be supporting Openmedia.ca by helping them lobby in Ottawa if they want to do business in the country.
The mainstream media in Canada seems to have missed the story- chosing to focus on the issue of rural Canadians possibly becoming second class citizens due to a lack of decent broadband. But that's not surprising - as High-speed Internet for rural areas is pegged at $7-billion - an enormous amount of money in a cash strapped economy.
Canadian Liberal MP Marc Garneau warned the CRTC:
“Just as the railway and the Trans-Canada [Highway] were the critical infrastructure that linked our communities in the 20th century, fibre optics, wireless and satellites will be the critical infrastructure that links our society in the 21st century,” Mr. Garneau, the Liberal critic for industry, science and technology, told a CRTC hearing on Tuesday in Gatineau, Que.
As we previously wrote at Appmarket.tv:
In a brilliant report from Canada, Steve Anderson at Tyee.ca is alleging that Canadian Telecoms are attempting to undermine the open Net to favour their own digital TV services using cap tactics, buying up TV content providers as well as lobbying legislators in the nation's capital of Ottawa. He says that by allowing Internet service providers to own major content assets creates an economic incentive for them to invest in a controlled content distribution infrastructure and to discriminate against the open Internet.
And by now allowing for capped internet, Bell, Rogers and other major players in Canada will be able to protect their own video services by controlling how much Canadians will be able to watch and, therefore, what they will watch on Connected TV devices such as Google TV, Samsung Internet@tv, Sharp, Toshiba, Yahoo Connected TV, Apple TV, Boxee, Roku - and Netflix which just opened up a streaming service in Canada.