Rights group says no to Canada's pay as you go internet

A rights group is protesting against a Canadian scheme which could see Internet Service Providers implementing a pay meter for internet use.

The Open Media group is writing a letter to Canada’s Radio Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) after the organisation gave the go ahead to ISP Bell Canada to use the system.

The group claims that the proposed methods will mean ISPs can charge per byte. They warn that if it continues Canadians will end up forking out more for less internet.

“This will crush innovative services, Canada’s digital competitiveness, social progress, and your wallet,” it says.

The letter, which the group is urging Candians to send on, is in response to the fact that the CRTC is re-examining the method. As part of the consultation it wants to find out what the public thinks.

“You now have an opportunity to stand up for the internet, and to stop big telecom companies from forcing usage-based internet billing on Canadians,” the letter reads.

“I believe the CRTC should reverse its previous UBB rulings and allow independent ISPs to compete with their OWN billing solutions.

“Please fix the fundamental structural issues in the Internet service market.”

It continues to ask for a complete overhaul of the regulatory framework for broadband competition in Canada and pushes the CRTC to ignore the pressure it is facing from the “few” big telecoms companies.

Open Media says half a million people have already sent the letter on.

On Tuesday, Industry Minister Tony Clement said he will overrule the move by the CRTC if it sticks to its guns.

He said that by allowing companies to offer the pay as you go service, competition could be stifled.  He added that with one downloaded movie using up 1.25GB or more the prices could easily shoot up unfairly for consumers.