Canadians are paying too high a price for Internet use

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Canadians are paying too high a price for Internet use, and Big Telecom and industry lobbyists are trying to make things much worse.

Bell has just announced that it will be raising its already-high prices across the board, following an announcement that Telus would be further lowering its usage caps by half.

In other nations, this might not be such a big deal. After all, it's only two companies. But Canada has a severe lack of competition and choice in the Internet service market, and such high barriers to making the switch to independent ISPs that a very large percentage of the population will be price-gouged to an even greater degree in 2013. 

I want to make one thing clear: Your Internet bill is not normal. The prices Canadians pay are higher than most in the industrialized world, and we're still one of the only OECD nations with caps on our Internet use. And wouldn't you know that Big Telecom's levels of network investment have remained relatively flat over the last decade, as infrastructure investment in other countries climbs and climbs.

This is a problem.

It's a problem for families who share Internet access and can quickly hit their caps. It's a problem for students who research online, who might learn better with video or images to help, who call home with Skype, and who are expected to be early adopters of innovative online services. It's a problem for online innovators, and for the digital economy as a whole. It's a problem for democracy, as the Internet is the key check on our extremely concentrated media system, and one of the only sources of up-to-date cultural and political information that isn't necessarily filtered through conglomerates. Canada needs an open and affordable Internet.

Now is a critical time for the future of Canada's Internet. Will it be closed and controlled, or will we have an open and participatory digital future? We at OpenMedia.ca are fighting hard, and amplifying your voices, for the latter.

You can support us and learn more by visiting our site, or, while we have an amazing matching funds offer, become a monthly donor at openmedia.ca/allies and help keep our team going.

 

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