A Pro-Internet Top 10 To Do List for James Moore
The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership contains extreme new Internet censorship rules that could break our digital economy by drastically restricting how Canadians can innovate and manage content online. These extreme U.S.-driven rules are being developed behind closed doors, with Canadian citizens, MPs, and public interest groups locked out of the negotiations entirely.
Over 135,000 citizens have spoken up against the TPP’s Internet trap. Although this issue is largely dealt with by Canada’s Trade Ministry, if the TPP goes through it could have a devastating impact on Canada’s digital economy.
For this reason, Minister Moore needs to be a strong voice in Cabinet and influence his colleagues to put a stop to these extreme, invasive, and costly rules that could see entire Canadian families lose their Internet access just because, for example, their kids are accused of accidentally sharing a copyrighted children’s song online.
2. Stimulate the economy by bringing fast Internet access to all Canadians
Canada’s 21st century economy depends on all Canadians having affordable access to fast and reliable Internet. The federal government should invest proceeds from the forthcoming auction of valuable wireless spectrum into ensuring that all Canadians have access to 21st century Internet infrastructure.
Investment decisions should be guided by public interest criteria and made in consultation with citizens and, where appropriate, forward-thinking local governments.
To get the best value for this investment, projects should only be funded if they are open access networks. Any subsidies for existing providers should ensure that those providers guarantee minimum levels of service in the subsidized markets.
1. Open Canada’s networks to independent Internet providers
According to independent OECD reports, Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for Internet access. These high prices are acting as a dead weight on our economy, hampering innovation, job creation, and economic growth.
We need bold action from the government to improve choice in our Internet market, which is currently dominated by just a few huge conglomerates. Minister Moore should follow the successful example of the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand by opening up Canada’s wired networks to independent service providers.
Policy wonks call this idea ‘structural separation’ because it involves separating a big telecom company’s infrastructure from its retail operations. This would mean that giant telecom companies would no longer be able to discriminate against smaller providers by, for example, charging them extortionate fees to access Canada’s networks.
The U.K. opened their networks through functional separation in 2005 with successful results – the move spurred lowered broadband prices, and offered a much wider range of choices for Internet service, boosting Internet usage across the country.
This is one of the most practical steps Minister Moore can take to ensure that our smaller, more affordable ISPs can operate on a level playing field with our telecom giants. As other industrialized nations are taking this action for more choice in the Internet service market, let’s not let Canada fall behind.
Canadians can also play their part by considering switching to a more affordable provider themselves – we’ve created this easy-to-use tool to help Canadians ‘make the switch’.
Do you agree it’s time for action to ensure that all Canadians have access to fast, affordable, surveillance-free, and reliable Internet? Speak up today by using this easy-to-use online tool to send our Action Plan for a Connected Canada to your MP and urge them to take action.