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Vancouver site leading online charge against usage-based billing 0

DHARM MAKWANA, QMI AGENCY
Steve Anderson of OpenMedia.ca is leading the largest online petition in Canadian history against the CRTC in response to new regulations on usage-based billing. (CARMINE MARINELLI, QMI AGENCY)

Steve Anderson of OpenMedia.ca is leading the largest online petition in Canadian history against the CRTC in response to new regulations on usage-based billing. (CARMINE MARINELLI, QMI AGENCY)

Public outrage over proposed Internet usage-based billing has resulted in 160,000 Canadians signing a petition opposing it, according the founder of Vancouver-based OpenMedia.ca.

The scheme, approved by CRTC Jan. 25, allows industry giants BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and Shaw Communications Inc. to lower bandwidth caps applied to home accounts then charge an overage fee for excessive use.

Some estimate an additional $2 could be charged per additional gigabyte of data transfer.

"Just giving people information, letting them understand the rip-off, the gouging that's happening, that definitely resonates with people," said OpenMedia.ca's Steve Anderson of the petition, the largest online appeal of its kind in Canadian history.

A group of public interest lawyers recruited by Anderson will also reach out to Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement to ensure the online petition is received.

"He's somewhat open-minded," Anderson said of the minister. "He knows the pressure is growing."

On Monday, Clement issued a statement on further government scrutiny of the CRTC decision.

"As Canada's industry minister, it is my job to help encourage an innovative and competitive marketplace, and to ensure Canadian consumers have real choices in the services they purchase," he said. "I can assure that, as with any ruling, this decision will be studied carefully to ensure that competition, innovation and consumers were all fairly considered."


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