When you sign up for an internet plan, you deserve to know what you’re paying for. That’s the premise behind a Bill before Parliament that will require transparency and accuracy in how telecoms and internet providers report internet speeds.
This legislation will help address the frustration many in Flamborough face with slow internet at peak times on evenings and weekends. Building out more connectivity and options in under-serviced rural areas remains an ongoing issue, but this Bill is a step in the right direction for rural Canadians and seniors who have felt cheated by what internet companies advertise.
Bill C-288 was introduced in June by my colleague Conservative MP Dan Mazier from Manitoba. It is expected to be up for debate soon.
Currently, internet companies advertise theoretical “up to” speeds. In most cases, internet companies in Flamborough are advertising either the minimum acceptable standard of 50 mega-bytes per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload, or better. But this usually doesn’t accurately reflect internet speeds during peak hours and weekends – especially the 7:00pm to 9:00pm window known as internet rush hour.
Under Bill C-288, Canadians would be presented with more accurate information such as expected speed during peak hours. For example, a company that reported their actual speed of 12 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload during peak hours would be at a competitive disadvantage to a company whose actual speeds are 24 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. This will prompt better competition and options for consumers. Internet Service Providers would need to improve speeds to retain and attract customers from competition, or would need to lower prices for those that didn’t care about peak times.
Similar requirements exist in the UK, Australia and the U.S. Consumer advocacy groups like OpenMedia support Bill C-288 and all-party support. Canada is falling behind.
One caveat is that this legislation applies only to fixed-broadband services and not mobile-broadband services because of the legislation it amends. Certainly there is more work to do to encourage competition in wireless in Canada. We pay among the highest rates in the world for data. Conservatives have always pushed for more competition.
Thank you to my friend MP Dan Mazier for Bill C-288. You have my full support.