In this week’s paper we cover two issues that directly affect the students here at UFV. Usage based billing (UBB) was recently approved by the CRTC and could effectively raise the rates that many students pay for their internet usage. This decision makes it possible for internet service providers to charge more for internet usage depending on the amount of information that a customer downloads. Many students struggle to pay the current internet service bill that they receive, so any increase in the rates will affect this vulnerable and generally impoverished group more than it would the general working populace.
The Government of Canada has criticized this ruling, but the CRTC has responded by simply extending the deadline for the approval of the decision. They seem to be buying more time in order to quietly pass the original bill after the initial outrage dies down. Unless the public speaks up, this bill will pass to the detriment of Canadian internet users in general and students in particular.
The students of UFV have also been dealing with longer and longer waitlists over the last couple of years. This is largely due to the lack of provincial funding for the University despite our high rates of enrolment. Although this may be a difficult issue to navigate due to the shortfalls in the provincial budget, it is still important for students to organize and make their voices heard regarding this issue. If the students themselves don’t speak up on the issue then it is left to the university administrators to advocate on behalf of the students in this regard, and as the situation stands, that approach doesn’t seem to be working.