Connected TV Backlash? More Monopolisation? Canada's CRTC to Allow ISPs to Meter Internet

written by: Richard Kastelein

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In a move that could crush innovative services, Canada's digital competitiveness, and pick consumer's wallets, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has essentially given the green light for a punitive charge for anybody who uses too much Internet in Canada... basically.

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.

 

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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