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'We heard you': Libs take stand against net metering

It's official, federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff announced on his website. The Liberal party opposes a CRTC decision that will allow major Internet service providers to put a cap on how much data consumers can download, and charge per byte beyond that.

The decision to allow this practice, known as net metering or usage-based billing, prompted a groundswell of protest from the public that was catalyzed by OpenMedia.ca. The organization's petition, Stop The Meter, garnered more than 200,000 signatures.

"You did this. By raising your voices in unprecedented numbers on Twitter, Facebook, and by signing petitions through groups like openmedia.ca, we heard you," reads the message from Ignatieff on the Liberal Party website. "Now, we’re taking a stand with you against a bad policy that hurts consumers, stifles competition and innovation, and makes the Internet less open."

An op-ed on the decision, Canada Just Become World's Biggest Internet Losers, by Tyee editor David Beers was published Jan. 25 in the Globe and Mail, where it was the most 'Facebooked' article on the paper's website. When it was republished on The Tyee the following day, it received more than 1,000 Facebook hits and 611 tweets -- a Tyee record.

Industry Minister Tony Clement has now issued a statement saying he will review the CRTC's decision "to ensure that competition, innovation and consumers were all fairly considered."

The federal NDP's digital issues critic Charlie Angus issued a press release Jan. 20 slamming the CRTC's decision, and in December, Vancouver city council adopted a position against usage-based Internet metering.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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