Top Conservative And Trump Agree: Scrap Net Neutrality, Jack Up Prices
The Trump administration is waging an all-out war against net neutrality, and it looks like Canada’s Conservatives are readying to join the fray too.
Over the weekend, Maxime Bernier — who was the close runner-up to Andrew Scheer in the Conservative leadership race — tweeted his opposition to net neutrality.
Net neutrality is a rule that prevents big internet and telecom companies from controlling what people see and do online. It bans telecoms from blocking and “throttling” access to websites — a practice which allows them to provide “fast lanes” to websites that pay for the privilege, and slow lanes for everyone else.
Bernier’s opposition to net neutrality is troubling because, as a former Industry Minister, he would likely play a significant role in determining the future of Canada’s net neutrality rules were Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives to form government.
In countries without net neutrality rules, purchasing an Internet package is a complex and expensive affair. Customers are often forced to choose packages that only allow them to access certain websites at normal speeds. For example, this is what purchasing an internet package looks like in Portugal (which does not have rules protecting net neutrality):
Want to use email and also Snapchat? That’s going to cost you extra. One review of countries without net neutrality described a complex and expensive process people are forced to navigate just to access basic online services:
In many countries without net neutrality, mobile plans are the worst culprit. Take what happens in Guatemala, for example. “Many people will have two SIM cards there because on one SIM card they can access WhatsApp for free, and on another SIM card you access Facebook for free,” says Renata Avila, a senior adviser at the Web Foundation. If you buy a small amount of data that gets used up quickly, WhatsApp will still be accessible after the cap is reached, but not the rest of the internet. If you do try to access other websites or apps, you’ll be prompted to pay more.
With the Trump administration set to scrap American net neutrality rules and top Conservative politicians working to undermine them in Canada, our big telecom companies are smelling blood in the water. Recently they have begun a public push for an end to net neutrality in Canada. While the current Trudeau government has stated they will protect net neutrality, we have to begin organizing now to ensure they keep their word — and get ready for a future government (like one that includes Maxime Bernier) which would aggressively attempt to scrap net neutrality.
Add your name below to join us and help protect net neutrality in Canada.