Back on January 25, my friend and colleague Dave Beers published an online op-ed in The Globe and Mail. Next day it appeared in The Tyee: Canadians Just Became World's Biggest Internet Losers. Excerpt:
YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, iPad. . . and whatever else is about to take the world by storm, making all of those digital breakthroughs seem old news. Surely it's obvious by now that Canadians are going to be better off if we foster digital media creativity, rather than leaving it to people in other countries.
But tell that to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the body supposedly responsible for regulating electronic media for our well-being. The CRTC has decided to allow Bell and other big telecom companies to change the way Canadians are billed for Internet access. Metering, or usage-based billing (UBB), will mean that service providers can charge per byte in addition to their basic access charges. The move is sure to stifle digital creativity in Canada while the rest of the world looks on and snickers.
A week later, the Conservative government, and all the other political parties, are scrambling to demand that the CRTC reverse its decision. As Hosni Mubarak has learned to his cost this week, you'll have better luck metering oxygen than metering online access.