Report details positions on one of the foremost issues shaking up the
polls this election
VANCOUVER, April 28 /CNW/ - Today, OpenMedia.ca published the results of its Digital Future Survey. The in-depth survey
is backed by OpenMedia.ca's half-a-million strong supporter base. The goal of the study is to
provide voters with a clear guide as to which parties will best deal
with Canada's increasingly problematic Internet usage-based billing.
The results give a snap shot of each parties' pro-Internet standings as
well as an in-depth look at their digital policies.
*The full report can be found at http://openmedia.ca/survey
*A summary pulling out the highlights from the report can be found at
the bottom of this release.
The major parties -- with the notable exception of the Conservatives --
have responded to the desire for pro-Internet commitments this
election. Despite letters from over 20,000 Canadians in just the last
two days demanding that they complete the Survey, the Conservative
Party has remained silent.
While the Conservatives held back, the other parties made significant
pro-Internet commitments, outlining how far they will go to make the
Internet open and affordable, and stop Big Telecom from stifling the
The Digital Future Survey dealt with the most popular issue on the
Internet: the Internet itself. Internet pricing in Canada is
increasingly out-of-step with global realities, and it regularly draws
ire from Canadians. Canadians have taken a strong stand in favour of
the open Internet: nearly half-a-million have signed OpenMedia.ca's petition calling for unmetered Internet access, making Internet
openness a key election issue.
The pro-Internet community has shaken up politics this election by
motivating youth and other traditional non-voters to become engaged
advocates. In the face of this democratic resurgence, including pleas
for pro-Internet commitments from nearly 50,000 Canadians, the
Conservatives' silence is all the more striking. In the Internet age,
parties need to prove themselves to be more, not less, willing to
respond to demands for accountability and transparency from newly
A Canadian participant on the OpenMedia.ca Facebook page said: "This is 100% the deciding factor for myself and
several other of my 18-24 year old friends."
Survey results reveal that, out of the major parties, the NDP would
spend the most -- $500 million per year over four years -- to improve
Internet access and penetration. In their response, the Liberal Party
made special mention of a 15% tax credit they would grant to those who
invest in Canada's digital economy. The Green Party is advocating a
"superfund" to be allocated for municipalities to invest in broadband
infrastructure, and the Bloc would put $900 million to broadband
The Digital Futures Survey was specifically designed to address
underlying structural issues that have caused Canada to fall behind in
the global digital economy. The NDP stated they would enact functional
separation laws i.e. stimulating competition by breaking Big Telecom up
into retail and wholesale divisions. The Liberals also said they are
supportive of the idea. While neither the Green Party nor the Bloc
addressed functional separation directly, the former called for the
Competition Bureau to be more involved in CRTC rulings while the latter
stated that they would support legislation that stimulates competition.
The Liberal Party stated that they oppose "anti-competitive" usage-based
billing, likely referring to the imposition of the pricing regime onto
independent ISPs. This appears to closely mirror the Conservative
stance on usage-based billing: hold back from banning it outright, but
prevent it from dominating the Internet service market. The Bloc and
the NDP would prohibit UBB outright. The Green Party took a somewhat
different stance, stating that they would call for reviews of all CRTC
decisions regarding Internet billing.
OpenMedia.ca is a national, non-partisan, non-profit public engagement organization
working to advance and support an open and innovative communications
system in Canada. Our primary goal is to increase public awareness and
informed participation in Canadian media, cultural, information, and
telecommunications policy formation.
About Stop The Meter
In October, Canadians were outraged by the news that the CRTC had
decided to allow Bell and other big Internet service providers (ISPs)
to impose new fees on independent ISPs - usage-based billing. Now every
Internet user in Canada is likely to feel the sting of a less
affordable Internet, and a less competitive Internet service market.
Recognizing the importance of this issue, OpenMedia.ca launched the Stop The Meter campaign.
Since its inception, this multi-platform petition, based at http://www.StopTheMeter.ca and in French at http://openmedia.ca/compteur, has become a record breaker and a game changer. Over 485,000 names
have now been added to the website, Facebook, Twitter, and in print.
For further information:
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca