Conservative MP tables bill to promote internet service advertising transparency

The bill would require internet providers to provide greater transparency when advertising network speeds

Conservative Manitoba MP Dan Mazier has tabled a private member’s bill to promote broadband advertising transparency.

A private member’s bill is a bill introduced in the House of Commons by an MP who is not a cabinet minister.  The bill, which is referred to as Bill C-299, would amend the Telecommunications Act to compel internet service providers to provide greater transparency in their advertising practices.

“This enactment amends the Telecommunications Act to require Canadian carriers to make easily available certain information in respect of the fixed broadband services that they offer and provide,” the bill’s summary reads.

“It also requires the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to hold public hearings in order to determine the form and manner in which the information is to be provided to the public.”

If passed, the bill would require internet service providers to advertise speeds based on the typical performance of their networks at peak times. It would also require them to advertise the typical download and upload speeds during peak periods.

Bill C-299 outlines that these factors will allow Canadians to make informed decisions when selecting a carrier for fixed broadband services and that this can lead to improved competition within the telecommunications industry.

In a tweet, Mazier stated that “too many Canadians are paying for what was supposed to be the country’s best internet, only to receive what is closer to the country’s worst internet. You deserve transparency.”

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has welcomed the bill and notes that Canadians will benefit from greater transparency when it comes to internet services.

“We’re pleased to see that Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum recognize how essential broadband has become,” CIRA CEO Byron Holland said in an emailed statement.

“It’s well known that real-world performance often fails to live up to its promises. Currently, internet service providers (ISPs) advertise the speeds their networks can get ‘up to’. This can be confusing for consumers, and often doesn’t reflect the actual performance of their internet.”

Image credit: @MBDan7