Canadian PM Sides With Netflix Against Net Caps

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper second-guesses CRTC on usage-based billing for Internet users.

TORONTO – Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has stormed into Canada’s Netflix debate.

Harper is siding with opponents of usage-based billing introduced by Internet service providers (ISPs) here to thwart the ambitions of Netflix north of the border.

“What we’re concerned with and what the Prime Minister is concerned with is the impact on consumers and that is why we’re going to be reviewing this thoroughly,” Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said Tuesday.

The Canadian prime minister is to decide by March 1 whether to overturn a CRTC ruling on Jan. 25 that allows ISPs to reduce bandwidth caps and charge overage fees for excessive consumption of Netflix and other bandwith-hogging sites.

Harper also took to his Twitter site to side with Canadians eager to retain unlimited usage packages from their ISPs.

“We’re very concerned about CRTC’s decision on usage-based billing and its impact on consumers. I’ve asked for a review of the decision,” the prime minister tweeted.

A Netflix spokesman declined comment on the Canadian debate over the imposition of Internet usage caps, beyond concerns raised last week by the U.S. video streaming giant that download caps threaten its Canadian expansion.