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The Internet Affordability Revolution will not be Subsidized with Shelley Robinson

Episode Summary

We interview Shelley Robinson, Executive Director of National Capital Freenet, about how the CRTC's recent several of it decision on wholesale internet rates not only challenges smaller ISPs, but virtually guarantees that affordable service will not be extended to lower income Canadians and certainly not at higher speeds.

Episode Notes

The CRTC's recent reversal of its wholesale internet rates decision will impede small non-profit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Ottawa's community-centred National Capital Freenet (NCF).

Shelley Robinson, NCF's Executive Director, joins PIAC's ED John Lawford to break down the CRTC's increase in rates and how it will impede NCF's desires to offer its "Community Access Fund" and low-cost connectivity at basic service speeds (50 Mbps download / 10 Mbps upload) to its qualifying customers. Shelley also details the pressures the higher rates will place on all non-profit and community-based ISPs  and the CRTC's overconfidence in thinking that its coming "disaggregated" model will rescue small ISPs and better serve customers. Instead, this approach and the higher rates will actually leave a large number of Canadians without internet or relying upon corporate handouts, even if they are solicited by the government (Connecting Families program). This must change to a sustainable model to ensure affordable internet access - based on a model like the U.S. Lifeline program.