interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

The CRTC is writing Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on January 3, 2011

No Usage Based Billing

The Globe and Mail’s editorial “We’re overdue for a digital-economy strategy” is calling for Canada to unroll a Digital Economy strategy.

After all, other countries have them.  But we have some serious issues, so I thought I’d share the comment I posted there:

“Quite frankly, I suspect we are in better shape with no Digital Economy Policy than rushing to implement a bad one.

But wait: you’ve entirely neglected to mention that the CRTC’s approval of Bell’s Usage Based Billing proposal means Canada’s Digital Economy Policy is being written by the regulator without government oversight.

Artificially inflating the cost of Canadian consumer internet access for the express purpose of discouraging Canadian consumer Internet use will certainly prove to be a pretty strong drag on Canada’s Digital Economy.

If you want to talk about education it is necessary to look at the fact that our public education system isn’t educating our children about computers and programming, we are training them to use the proprietary software of the day. Of course that’s hardly surprising when all levels of government appear to be wedded to brand names rather than getting in on the ground floor with Free-Libre Open Source Software.

There is a serious need for MEANINGFUL government consultation on these issues.

No policy is better than bad policy.”

—Laurel L. Russwurm, Comments, The Globe and Mail: We’re overdue for a digital-economy strategy

Funny, they didn’t even mention Usage based Billing.

Further Reading on FLOSS:

Canada: Free/Libre and Open Source Software
Europe: The impact of Free/Libre/Open Source Software on innovation and competitiveness of the European Union
United States: The Free Software Definition

We need to Stop Usage Based Billing before it starts.

If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 11503 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.
Because Usage Based Billing will harm not only Canadians, but our Economy.

You can also call or write your MP, MP postal code look-up

Heritage Minister James Moore – email:

Industry Minister Tony Clement – email:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper – email:

After all, they work for us, don’t they?

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing

5 Responses to “The CRTC is writing Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy”

  1. RobertX said

    Wow, Laurel. You shot that columnist dead! Just a little something about that last quote, “No policy is better than bad policy.”

    People will interpret that as one meaning or the other. The first one is that we’ll live if there’s nothing being implemented than anything that is half-assed, which I think is your meaning. However, the second interpretation, which I assume is contradictory to what you’re trying to say: a bad policy is better than any policy. Just think: “no policy is better than a bad policy.” This can also be the same as “a bad policy is better than anyone that exists.”

    Just kidding. 😉

    • What we have now is not perfect. But if they introduce misguided policy they could very easily make it worse.

      Right now the Ontario public schools I’ve seen seem to have Apple and Microsoft computers; I think it depends on what gets donated. This isn’t good, then the schools end up having to train the teachers who in turn train the kids to be Apple and/or Microsoft customers. In Germany I understand that they are allowed to use proprietary software in the schools so long as it is matched with open source alternatives. That is clearly not the case here. An over dependence on one manufacturer is a danger, particularly when the more advanced students are prevented from taking proprietary software apart since it’s covered under patents.

      But if the government were to mandating that all Canadian schools had to use Apple computers/software it would be much worse.

      The serious danger we face right now is that the technology has changed so very fast, most of our politicians are not very computer literate at all. The worst is those who think they understand but don’t.

      These decisions need to be taken by people who understand it. They need to take the time to learn enough about it before making legislation about things they understand imperfectly. Being instructed on what laws to make by the Industry that will profit from it will not benefit Canada.

      The problem with the CRTC throughout the Usage Based Billing issue (and the throttling issue before) is that they clearly do not understand what they are regulating. Instead, of making it their business to find out, the CRTC is content to take what Bell tells them on faith.

      This is not good for Canada.

      • RobertX said

        Hmmm, not understanding what they are regulating… I know at least three people in DSLReports that will disagree with you. They think that the CRTC understands, but is doing jack-shit about this.

        I guess we have to hope that Clement WILL understand and will do something about this.

      • People form opinions based on available information combined with their life experience. Having heard Jesse Brown interview the CRTC Chairman on TVO’s SearchEngine podcast, I simply can’t believe he understands the technology he is charged with regulating.

  2. […] Digital Economy Policy is being written by the regulator without government oversight. …read the full article here Post Information Rate this Post:  Loading … Written by Frank, Filed under: Digital […]

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