CRTC: Canadian ISPs Can’t Exempt Certain Content From a Person’s Data Cap


According to a new report from the CBC, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has decided that internet service providers (ISP) in Canada can’t pick which apps and services count against your data cap.

The move by the CRTC signals a huge win for proponents of net neutrality, which basically states that carriers should treat all content equally. In a statement, CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said:

“Rather than offering its subscribers selected content at different data usage prices, Internet service providers should be offering more data at lower prices. That way, subscribers can choose for themselves what content they want to consume.”

The decision stemmed from a complaint against Quebec-based wireless carrier Videotron. The carrier launched a feature last year which allowed customers to stream music from various services without it counting towards their monthly data cap.

Companies like Bell, Telus, Videotron, and Facebook argued that this practice was good for innovation and creation in the consumer space. It also allows consumers to get access to more choices at lower costs. However, Rogers and various advocacy groups argued that the practice would favour some content and discriminate against others, which was a violation of net neutrality. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which side you are taking, the CRTC agreed in favour of net neutrality.

The decision means that carriers like Videotron will no longer be able to offer their unlimited music streaming plans to customers in their current forms.


  • YoGoerz

    I think it’s wildly surprising that Rogers was on the net neutrality side of the argument. Specially given they are not an under dog, nor do they lack a content portfolio.
    Makes me feel slightly better about the network I chose.

  • FragilityG4

    So this would also affect FibeTV as well, correct?

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    It might but I think because it is a closed system that it does not apply. I am not sure though. You asked a good question.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Now we need unlimited cellular data service.

  • Arkangil

    I find it frustrating that the CRTC makes a ruling that has a fundamental change to contracts subscribers signed, but doesn’t mandate the solution. ” Internet service providers should be offering more data at lower prices” But it doesn’t tell them they have to. So what will happen to those who signed up for the unlimited music, and it’s now taken away?

  • It’s Me

    Well, first, Rogers was one of the first to bring in zero-rated contents years ago. Second, their content portfolio, especially content that people would actually want to consume, is negligible compared to Bell Media, which is a content creation powerhouse next to Rogers. Killing their own Shomi was a tacit acknowledgement on their part.

    Rogers was on the side of net neutrality in this single case because their previous attempts had failed miserably and they know they have nothing of value to add.

  • sully54

    the best thing to happen to the telecommunications landscape in the US was the breakup of the Bell System into smaller companies by the justice department as an anti trust measure.

    The competition bureau needs to act in tangent with the CRTC to ensure that there is competition in the industry. The CRTC can’t do it alone as they don’t have the jurisdiction. Also, the CRTC’s policies need to change when it comes to companies merging. There needs to be stricter policies that prevent the big 3 from gobbling up smaller companies.

  • Kellidotca

    Rogers used to have a plan that offered free Spotify account that didn’t count toward your data. So…

  • Olley

    how about making data cap illegal, huh?

  • Sam

    The ISP will point the finger at the CRTC and say the CRTC forced you to have “THIS” bad deal not us – if the CRTC imposes a solution to the customers. Now the ball is on the ISP’s court and they will suffer any blow back from their customers if they do not offer good incentives to retain customers. Besides, I believe the CRTC likely can’t enforce specific data plans.

  • mcfilmmakers

    So what will happen to my plan that i have on contract??

  • YoGoerz

    Nah it was free but it still used your data allowance. They did have a TV thing though.

  • YoGoerz

    Yeah that’s fair.

    I know they used to, but I guess that’s why it’s surprising right? Like I’d expect them to try and get that back but they didn’t.

  • YoGoerz

    I believe FibeTV still uses data so it is fine as far as this ruling goes.

  • FragilityG4

    I believe, not a hundred percent on this as I’m a cord cutter, that they sell it as TV does not use your monthly allowance. With this new rule it would seem that they would have to make it unlimited as TV, especially 4K, would use a large portion of that bandwidth.

  • It’s Me

    At some point, even the brain trust at Rogers will clue into things they don’t do very well. They might love the idea but if reality shows they can’t pull it off in practice, then they have no reason to try and get back in. And if they recognize that Bell and other could actually be successful with it, then they have every reason to join the fight against it.