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Canada nixes unlimited music plan, in stand for net neutrality

The move against a wireless carrier cites the need for data to be treated equally for all.

Canada: Can you hear us now?
Sarah Tew/CNET

A Canadian commission ruled Thursday against a wireless carrier's service that offers unlimited music to its customers.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's ruling specifically targets the Unlimited Music Service of Videotron, the telecommunications unit of Canadian wireless carrier Quebecor. The commission gave Videotron 90 days to bring its plan into compliance.

The service allows customers to stream content without the data use counting against them -- provided they stream from certain services. The commission's ruling contends that by offering this "zero-rating" to certain streaming companies, Videotron puts smaller streaming companies and some customers at a disadvantage.

As Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, looks to roll back net neutrality rules, the Canadian government's decision cites the need to avoid pricing and plans that give unfair advantages to some content providers or consumers.

"Rather than offering its subscribers selected content at different data usage prices, Internet service providers should be offering more data at lower prices,"Jean-Pierre Blais, the Canadian commission's chairman, said in a statement. "That way, subscribers can choose for themselves what content they want to consume."

Videotron responded, saying the company is "disappointed by the decision" and assuring customers that the music service will be "maintained until further notice."

Videotron did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

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