CRTC to Review “Zero-Rating” Internet Plans

The CRTC is preparing a new public review which will examine differential pricing and zero-rating for both wired and wireless Internet, reports CBC News. The practice of offering customers packages with unlimited music or video streaming is called zero-rating. The CRTC will look into the matter and decide whether or not this is good for consumers.

Crtc logo

It all comes down to net neutrality, the idea that all data and traffic on the Internet should be treated equally. The review was ignited by complaints against Videotron, which offers Unlimited Music, allowing customers to stream music from certain third-party services without counting the data traffic towards their customers’ monthly data cap.

The PIAC (Public Interest Advocacy Centre), the author of the complaint, claims Unlimited Music allows the carrier to discriminate against other music-streaming services in favour of those with which it has inked a deal.

“Nobody likes data caps and as long as this happens, there will perpetually be data caps because then telecoms can pick and choose what they want to make free, and everything else is charged data,” he says.”There isn’t really any difference between the bits travelling along the tubes, but when you make some bits count more than others, you can charge for them,” he says.

Videotron, on the other hand, says the complaints are unfounded, as it is open to signing an agreement with any of the available third-party music streaming service providers.

“Videotron is not conferring an undue preference on itself or anyone else,” said a company spokesperson in an email to CBC News. “Participation in the Unlimited Music service is open to all streaming service providers that meet Videotron’s technical criteria, and Videotron is not receiving any compensation from any provider.”

The case is very similar to an earlier Bell case which ultimately ended with a ruling against the carrier: the CRTC ordered Bell to stop giving preferential treatment to its own mobile television service.

The CRTC, however, says the Bell and Videotron cases are different, since Bell had its own app, while Videotron doesn’t promote its own application.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • Bleep Bloop

    I have full confidence that the CRTC will do what is in the best interest of the customer..

  • Bleep Bloop

    NOT.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    I pay an extra $10 to Bell to have unlimited Internet at home. Why not the same thing with my cellular service?!?

  • Jay

    lol, yeah they’re doing a bang up job with keeping carrier prices “competitive”

  • jmcd102

    Nice sarcasm.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Next step will be charging extra for any extra minutes watching Cable TV after going over your cap each day. “You can always upgrade to our 2 hrs per day plan” they’ll say.

  • BigCat

    As cable companies continue to loose customers to other content providers such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple we can only expect to see things get tighter and cost more.

    In fact cable companies will probably point to their lose of content customers as justification for rate increases on their internet plans.

  • BigCat

    This kind a reminds of the processs of catching cab at the New Delhi International Airport.

    It can cost you a incrediblly large amount of money or it can cost you very little:)

  • BigCat

    I was wondering where this post went. Sorry, wrong place (strange).