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Usage-based Net billing limits choice: Liberals

The federal Liberals are opposing a CRTC decision they say will allow major Internet service providers to put a cap on how much data consumers can download and ultimately lead to higher Internet rates.

The federal Liberals are opposing a CRTC decision they say will allow major Internet service providers to put a cap on how much data consumers can download and ultimately lead to higher Internet rates.

The Liberals say the decision, which allows usage-based billing to go ahead, limits competition and choice for consumers.

Industry Minister Tony Clement said he will review the decision, as complaints come in from Internet users.

An online petition by OpenMedia.ca has bombarded Clement with thousands of messages urging the minister to take a look at the decision.

The petition has more than 200,000 signatures asking the minister to overturn the ruling.

Joining that chorus of concern yesterday was none other than Prime Minister Stephen Harper — on Twitter, no less (@pmharper).

“We’re very concerned about CRTC’s decision on usage-based billing and its impact on consumers,” Harper tweeted. “I’ve asked for a review of the decision.”

In Ottawa, National Capital Freenet’s users can currently use up to 200 GB per month as part of their monthly DSL service, which the non-profit organization buys in bulk from Bell.

The rule changes, the organization says, will likely force it to introduce new usage-billing thresholds at 60 GB and 300 GB.

“This will add to NCF members’ administrative costs, and will be a hassle and expense for everyone,” the group said in a message on its website.

Both the opposition Liberals and the NDP have come out against the CRTC ruling.

 
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