As Canada and the U.S. begin to develop very different stances on net neutrality, a Trump advisor has taken to Twitter to criticize the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s recent decision on zero rating — the process of excluding certain content from regular data billing.
“US, EU, Slovenia and now Netherlands say zero rating is ok. What gives @CRTCeng? Sorry Canada, now you’re in the class with backward India,” reads Roslyn Layton’s recent tweet.
Layton also tweeted that Canadian internet innovation would suffer while the U.S. dominates the market, writing: “Amer internet innovation assured preeminence as Canada restricts zero rating. Sad for their small providers and poor.”
US, EU, Slovenia and now Netherlands say zero rating is ok. What gives @CRTCeng? Sorry Canada, now you're in the class with backward India.
— Roslyn Layton, PhD (@RoslynLayton) April 21, 2017
Layton was hired by President Trump as part of the transition team for the U.S. telecom regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and is an outspoken critic of net neutrality policy.
In a 2015 blog post for the American Enterprise Institute she wrote: “Regulation proponents argue that without such rules your Internet provider would speed up or slow down websites. There have never been rules against this, but Internet providers don’t do it anyway. Simply put, the business opportunity to deliver an open Internet is far greater. Failing that, antitrust laws deter discriminatory behavior, already ensuring net neutrality.”
Layton’s opinion is in keeping with the current FCC administration, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, who recently called net neutrality “a mistake.”
Amer internet innovation assured preeminence as Canada restricts zero rating. Sad for their small providers and poor https://t.co/hF9tCbxKmK
— Roslyn Layton, PhD (@RoslynLayton) April 20, 2017
The CRTC’s decision was hailed as a significant win for net neutrality by countries across the world. In the decision, Canada’s telecom regulator ruled that Quebec-regional carrier Videotron gives undue preference to certain customers and music streaming platforms that use its Unlimited Music service, which allows premium-tier customers to stream music from select apps without being billed for data usage.
In addition, it laid out a new framework that severely restricts the grounds on which differential pricing is allowed, in the aim of ensuring that internet providers do not disadvantage upstart companies or stifle online innovation by discriminating against some content while favouring others.
“Rather than offering its subscribers selected content at different data usage prices, internet service providers should be offering more data at lower prices.”
“A free and open internet gives everyone a fair chance to innovate and for a vast array of content to be discovered by consumers,” stated CRTC CEO and chairman Jean-Pierre Blais in a press release accompanying the decision.
“A free and open internet also allows citizens to be informed and engage on issues of public concern without undue or inappropriate interference by those who operate those networks. 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.”