Public Values

Shaw introduces two-tiered system to crush competition

Move contradicts company's supposed pro-Internet stance.

Anderson: Shaw, Big Telecom utterly disregarding half-million Canadians who signed to Stop The MeterJuly 15, 2011: After presenting a purportedly pro-Internet stance at the hearings on usage-based billing (Internet metering) this week, Shaw has announced that its upcoming online video service, Movie Club, will be exempt from its data caps.

This is a blatant attempt to gain an unfair advantage over online services like Netflix, as well as against Shaw's smaller competitors in the Internet service market.

"It's unfair for Shaw to restrict access to competing services by making them more expensive to use than Shaw's own services," says Steve Anderson, Executive Director of pro-Internet group OpenMedia.ca. "It clearly demonstrates that Internet metering isn't about paying for use; it's about prioritizing Big Telecom's services in order to hogtie the competition and assert dominance in multiple markets."

  "The launch of this service at a time when the regulator is holding a hearing on pricing rules should be seen as an admission that these rules are about preventing competition, not increasing the quality of access for most Canadians."

OpenMedia.ca appeared at the usage-based billing hearing the day before Shaw, and stood up for Canadians by opposing price gouging by Big Telecom. While Shaw positioned itself as consumer-friendly, the corporation's actions foreshadow a vision of the Internet where ISPs get to pick and choose which services their customers use.

Anderson continues: "The launch of this service at a time when the regulator is holding a hearing on pricing rules should be seen as an admission that these rules are about preventing competition, not increasing the quality of access for most Canadians; Shaw and the other Big Telecom companies are showing an utter disregard for the nearly half a million Canadians who signed OpenMedia.ca's Stop The Meter petition."

To counter this move, which will threaten Internet openness and the digital economy, OpenMedia.ca is encouraging Canadians to continue to send a message to Shaw and to the CRTC via the Stop The Meter petition.

Links and sources
  Shaw to turn the Internet into a two-tier service

Posted: July 21, 2011

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