In an interesting turn of events, net-neutrality advocates have gained another supporter: Rogers, Canada’s biggest wireless carrier. Rogers disclosed its (new) position on the matter in a filing with the CRTC in which it spoke against zero-rated content such as Videotron’s Unlimited Music service, as spotted by Peter Nowak.
“The Unlimited Music service offered by Videotron is fundamentally at odds with the objective of ensuring that there is an open and non-discriminatory marketplace for mobile audio services,” the company’s CRTC filing says.
“Videotron is, in effect, picking winners and losers by adopting a business model that would require an online audio service provider (including Canadian radio stations that stream content online) to accept Videotron’s contractual requirements in order to receive the benefit of having its content zero-rated.”
Zero-rating means exempting content and applications from usage caps, something that Rogers did until August last year, before consumer groups and advocates complained to the CRTC and the regulator ruled that Bell and Videotron should cease favouring their own content earlier this spring.
There is a catch, though: Rogers is currently luring its customers with free subscription services to Shomi, Next Issue, and Spotify. As Nowak points out, none of them is exempt from usage caps, but there isn’t a clear reason as to “why zero-rating of data is bad but subsidizing the service themselves is okay.” So in the end, the carrier or ISP decides which services are cheaper for customers to use. How ironic is that?