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Innovation and Free Speech on the Internet

Engage Books is a strong supporter of free speech and access to information on the internet. In Canada there is a key piece of legislation that is determined to give Internet Service Providers, the right to control the network speed to internet sites. What this means is that large corporations will be able to pay their service providers for faster network speeds, while those who can't afford these costs will be left with sites that move at a snails pace. This is dangerous to the integrity of the internet, free speech and the dissemination of information from the varying viewpoints of people around the world. I encourage you to read the following article from www.saveournet.ca and see how you can help.

 
CRTC decision on Internet throttling pits "innovation and free speech versus monopoly"

go to the French version

Press Release: For Immediate Release
February 9, 2009

A national coalition of Internet democracy watchdogs are urging Canadians to get involved in the debate over Canada's open Internet and "Net Neutrality" -- before a vital February 16 deadline.

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is investigating the controversial practice of "throttling" or deliberately slowing down Canadians' Internet speeds. Several large Canadian internet service providers have been caught throttling consumers and competitors in recent months, including a high-profile case involving Bell Canada in November. February 16 is the last day for the public to submit their own comments and arguments to the commission on the issue, online or at http://saveournet.ca/content/take-action

SaveOurNet.ca, a coalition of media watchdogs, industry and public interest groups, says the debate pits the interests of monopoly against the larger interests of Canadian innovation, democracy, and a healthy 21st century economy. SaveOurNet.ca Co-founder Steve Anderson said today, "there needs to be some basic rules in place to protect Canadian citizens and businesses from being unfairly throttled, blocked or squeezed out by a few telecom giants. If we don't protect the Internet's level playing field from unfair monopoly -- as the U.S. and other countries now are -- Canadian innovation and new media will lose out."

Considering the challenges facing our economy, we should actively support our home grown social, cultural, and economic innovation, not punish it by allowing big telecommunication companies to strangle the lifeblood of innovation - the open Internet.

The complaints to the CRTC over throttling come at a time of growing public frustration with Canada's large telecom companies, including recent class-action lawsuits, websites and Facebook groups protesting cellphone rates, and a public rally on Parliament Hill against throttling last spring. A handful of large phone and cable companies dominate over 90% of Canada's broadband market, leaving consumers with few choices, some of the highest prices in the industrialized world, and mounting evidence that Canada is falling behind other countries in broadband adoption, speed and affordability.

The movement to protect an open Internet recently received a high-profile boost in the U.S., where President Barack Obama and the new chair of the FCC both publicly support Net Neutrality.

SaveOurNet.ca co-founder Steve Anderson said today, "We applaud the CRTC for taking this issue on. Canadians need to encourage the CRTC to consider the bigger picture of monopoly versus innovation. We should protect a basic principle that has been spectacularly good for the Internet in Canada and around the world. Now more than ever, we need to spur innovation and access to information -- not choke it off."

Canadians can send their comments to CRTC by visiting: http://saveournet.ca/content/take-action

For more information contact:

Steve Anderson
Co-founder
SaveOurNet.ca
(604) 837-5730
steve@democraticmedia.ca
http://saveournet.ca

Kris Krug
President
Raincity Studios
778.898.3076
kris@raincitystudios.com
http://raincitystudios.com/

Ben Lewis
Canadian Federation of Students
Communications Coordinator
416-925-3825
communications@cfs-fcee.ca
http://www.cfs-fcee.ca/

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