Thursday, November 20, 2008

The CRTC Refuses To Do It's Job

The CRTC ruled today that Bell can continue to control how you use the internet. This is in keeping with the CRTC philosophy of the last several years which generally boils down to 'screw consumers'. The CRTC has regularly failed Canadian consumers and allowed heavily publicly subsidized companies such as Bell, Rogers and Shaw to do as they please with little or no regulation or oversight and no obligation to give anything back to the consumers who subsidize their existence.

They have failed to control media consolidation, they failed to take any action when cable providers refused their legal obligations to the Canadian Television Fund, they refused to force cable providers to pay the same carriage fees to Canadian networks that they pay to US networks. In short the CRTC has failed to do the job it was created to do - namely to protect Canadian consumers and Canadian media.

The only real way, that I can see, to force the CRTC to do it's job is to put in place federal laws to more strictly regulate broadcasters, cable companies and phone companies. These should include:

  • Net Neutrality legislation

  • Greatly strengthened public service requirements

  • Increased restrictions on ownership/consolidation

  • Funds for cities to set up municipal wi-fi systems

  • Increased fees for licenses, including carriage fees and contributions to the Canadian Television Fund and the New Media Fund

  • There are obviously more, but that would be a good start. Until some action is taken by the government or the CRTC I don't believe that there is any reason for Canadians to show any respect to the CRTC, cable companies or ISP or to show any respect for their rules or regulations. Canada's broadcast systems - including the airwaves, and the infrastructure (the pipes) that these companies use belong to Canadians. The CRTC, contrary to it's mandate, wants to take them away and give them away to private companies - until we get them back these private companies and the CRTC should be seen as thieves and enemies of Canada and treated with no more respect than that.

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