Federal government should fast track adopting Bill C-299

This statement was originally published on openmedia.org on 9 June 2021.

Today OpenMedia is calling on all MPs to support Bill C-299, a private member’s bill introduced last week by Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa MP Dan Mazier. The proposed bill would amend the Telecommunications Act to require ISPs accurately report average broadband network performance in their areas of operation to the public.

By requiring ISPs to accurately and publicly report on key Internet performance indicators during peak use of broadband service, Bill C-299 will help telecommunications customers in Canada make informed decisions in choosing between services, and encourage service providers to compete on the actual network performance they’re delivering to their customers.

“Quite simply, people in Canada deserve to know what they’re paying for when choosing their Internet service,” said OpenMedia Campaigns Director Matt Hatfield. “Just as we deserve to know what is actually in the box when we purchase other goods and services, we deserve to know what we’re realistically going to get when we pay for access to the Internet. It’s common sense, and we hope and expect to see every single MP in Canada speak up and help pass this bill.”

“This kind of legislation is particularly important for people considering rural or low-cost Internet service,” added Hatfield. “The slower the speed of the service available to us, the more the difference between the best case scenario performance ISPs tout and the actual speed we get will make an enormous difference to whether our household’s connectivity needs are actually fulfilled.”

Similar speed reporting requirements have been adopted in recent years in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., the FCC has mandated broadband labels that inform customers of a wide range of performance and cost information, including average speeds.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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