Vancouver council to call on federal government to oppose Internet metering

Vancouver city council has adopted a position against usage-based Internet billing, and will urge the Canadian government to take on the same stance.

Through a motion introduced by Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer and amended by NPA councillor Suzanne Anton, the city has voted to oppose so-called Internet metering.

“I’m happy the policy passed,” Reimer told the Straight by phone.

“The city manager provided some details for us today about how much impact it would have on the city’s business. Obviously it would have an impact on city residents and businesses”¦but it would definitely have an impact just on the city’s ability to do its business.”

Reimer's motion calls on council to recommend to the CRTC that they reverse a decision that would allow Bell Canada to bill independent Internet service providers based on usage.

Reimer argued the pricing regime would stifle innovation, increase costs for users and limit the ability of Vancouver residents to access online services.

An amendment to the motion proposed by NPA councillor Suzanne Anton calls on the city to take a stance against Internet metering in general, and to urge the federal government to oppose the pricing model.

Every councillor but Anton, who did not support council’s input into the CRTC decision, voted in support of the motion.

Lindsey Pinto of the group commended council’s decision, noting that Vancouver is the first city to take on such a stance against Internet metering. She hopes the motion will draw more attention to the telecom decision.

“Usage-based billing is bad for both industry and competition, but as well as for end users, consumers, citizens, and we need to make sure that people know about it so we can prevent it from happening and so we can keep the Internet as open as possible,” she told the Straight by phone.

The group has been organizing signatures for an online petition against Internet metering since November.