There has been a lot of buzz this week about the Internet situation in Canada ever since Canadian ISP Teksavvy posted new pricing information and set off a massive national controversy. Here’s a rundown of the situation and the latest updates all in one.
- Late last year, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (or CRTC, the Canadian equivalent of the American FCC) issued a decision to allow Bell Canada and other huge monolithic Canadian internet infrastructure owners the abilty to set data caps on customers and on competing ISPs that sub-lease the use of Internet infrastructure.
- Jan. 26th of this year, Bell announced a data cap of 25 gigs/month for not only their own customers, but for competing ISPs that were using their infrastructure. This forced the smaller ISPs to pass the buck on to the consumer as well.
- Massive outrage across Canada and much commentary around the western world was sparked.
- Thursday, Feb. 3rd, the following quote was reported by The Toronto Star:
“The CRTC should be under no illusion — the Prime Minister and minister of Industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself,” said an anonymous member of Canada’s conservative goverment. “If they don’t reconsider we will reverse their decision.”
Hours later, Konrad von Finkenstein, the CRTC’s chairman, addressed a parliamentary committee. Acknowledging public protest, he told them that the CRTC will delay the decision allowing Bell and other major carriers this power by 60 days past the original March 1st date. “We want to make sure we got it right,” he said. “We will look at it with fresh and open eyes.”
It should be noted that that is in no way a promise that they won’t reach the same decision again. Canadian internet has a couple months of reprieve, but this could all blow up again come April 30th. If it does, we’ll see whether the government meant it when they said they’d overturn the CRTC’s decision for them.