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Oh, Canada! Our home country votes to uphold Net Neutrality

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

25 April 2017

Some days, you’re just super proud to be Canadian.

Last week, Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled that ISPs based in Canada cannot exempt certain kinds of content from counting towards a user’s data cap.

This pratice, known as “zero-rating”, allows ISPs to give preferential treatment to certain types of content—for instance, an ISP could allow a user to stream video content from a particular company without that data counting towards the user’s monthly data cap. This would encourage the user to watch the aforementioned content. It is exactly this sort of unequal content structure that Net Neutrality fights against, so the CRTC’s ruling in this case is a huge boon for Canadian Net Neutrality.

The ruling came about thanks to complaints against Videotron, a Quebec-based wireless carrier that allowed customers to stream Google Play Music and Spotify without it affecting their data limit. The CRTC agreed with critics, who said that this practice favours some kinds of internet activity over others.

Like other North American Net Neutrality advocates, we’re thrilled to see this decision go through—but it’s worth remembering that North American Net Neutrality is not out of the woods. The new head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, has stated that he doesn’t believe the US government should prevent ISPs from offering free data plans like the zero-rating practice above, meaning that the practice could soon be allowed in the States. This would be a huge blow for Net Neutrality advocates the world over.

Pai is expected to outline new Net Neutrality guidelines later today.

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