Net Neutrality News

I like to keep an eye on things around Net Neutrality, but I will certainly leave it to the experts to put forth some thoughts and opinions about the recent CRTC Decision on this issue.

CRTC Sets Net Neutrality Framework But Leaves Guarantees More Complaints
Michael Geist

Wednesday October 21, 2009
The CRTC’s net neutrality (aka traffic management) decision is out and though it does not go as far as some advocates might hope, it unquestionably advances the ball forward on several important fronts. When considering the decision, it is important to remember that 12 months ago, there was virtually no ISP disclosure of traffic management practices and even an unwillingness to acknowledge that there was an issue. Today’s CRTC decision signifies that traffic management is not a free-for-all and the days of ISPs arguing that they can do whatever they please on their networks is over. That said, it also guarantees that traffic management practices such as throttling will continue and it is going to take more complaints to concretely address the issue. READ MORE

Net Neutrality Developments
Marie Elliott, SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active)
According to Michael Geist, the Canadian government should take some initiative and aid the complete enforcement of net neutrality in Canada. Now that a policy has been created regarding net neutrality, the government needs to make sure that ISPs are following this framework correctly. Geist mainly places this task in the hands of Industry Minister Tony Clement. Geist thinks that Clement should become more engaged in the issue. Fortunately, Clement has stated he is “watching those [Internet Service] providers very closely and [does] not want to see a situation where consumers are put at risk in terms of their access to the Internet.”

Net Neutrality in Canada Still a Work in Progress
Michael Geist

Monday October 26, 2009
The release last week of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s report on Internet traffic management – known as the net neutrality decision – attracted national attention. Canadians, Internet service providers, and politicians debated whether the regulator had struck the right balance in addressing how ISPs manage Internet traffic. While some headlines seemed to suggest that the CRTC has given Canada’s ISPs the green light to do as they please, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues the reality is that the decision establishes several notable requirements and restrictions, but leaves the door open for further action from the government. READ MORE

CRTC dropped the ball on net neutrality: Charlie Angus
Decision leaves consumers and users out in the cold

(From a news release dated Thursday, October 22, 2009)
OTTAWA – Yesterday’s CRTC decision on Internet traffic-management practices is a blow to the future of digital innovation in Canada, said New Democrat Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay). The decision allows Bell and other giant Internet service providers (ISPs) to throttle the internet traffic of competitors or end users if they see fit. This interference will be bad news for small third-party competitors and leaves consumers subject to digital snooping and interference from cable giants. Angus said the CRTC has once again failed to stand up for the public interest. “Basically the CRTC has left the wolves in charge of the henhouse. ISP giants have been given the green light to shape traffic on the internet in favour of their corporate interests,” he said. “This decision is a huge blow to the future competitiveness of the internet.” READ MORE

Did the CRTC just crap the bed on Canada’s net neutrality decision?
Wirelessnorth.ca (article no longer available)
The answers so far are no, yes and maybe. Depending who you ask. Brush up on the announcement and initial reactions here: Peter Nowak has excellent coverage today of the CRTC call (long time coming) on net neutrality in Canada. Michael Geist and Ars Technica offer some balanced opinion. What everyone seems to agree on is that CRTC’s framework is reasonable, and is highly progressive relative to where the debate was just a year or more ago. We’ve argued in the past for economic solutions to ISP capacity which is what the CRTC is also stressing.

The Open Internet: It’s for everyone
Marie Elliott, SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active)
Free Form (site no longer active) created a video about keeping the Internet free and open, and how this will benefit people everywhere. Check it out!

Net Neutrality FAQ: What’s in it for You
Tim Greene, Network World
PCWorld

The FCC has approved a notice of proposed rule making on the subject of net neutrality, and here are a few questions and answers to help shine a light on what that means. (See “FCC takes first step toward net neutrality rules“) What exactly did the FCC do? The FCC agreed to consider what regulations, if any, to impose on ISPs about the applications and services that they allow, ban or rate limit. The process calls for formally proposing rules and holding public hearings on them. A vote about the rules themselves will take place sometime next year. READ MORE

(Links updated November 2013)

Join the Movement – Keep Broadband Competitive in Canada

Important issue here, folks. Thanks to a recent CRTC decision, we could see fewer choices of Internet service providers, higher prices, and slower speeds. Check out Competitivebroadband.com (site no longer active). You can:

  • Join the movement
  • Read the background on the issue as well as the Top 10 reasons the decision should be reversed
  • Write a letter (your own or template is provided) to the Industry Minister, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, and your MP (search provided)

SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active) also wrote about this in their post Businesses Stand Up for Broadband Competition. Here’s a few highlights from Competitivebroadband.com.

A recent decision by the CRTC has the potential to cause major disruption in the internet service marketplace. Fortunately, the decision can be reversed by the federal cabinet, if voices like yours are heard. Here’s the issue in a nutshell. … Once these networks were built, and the telephone companies were very well established, the federal government put in rules to help create healthy competition. One of these rules was to require Bell and Telus to allow competitors to connect to their networks, at prices that were regulated by the CRTC … … The CRTC’s recent decision would destroy this framework. It would allow companies like Bell and Telus to set whatever prices they choose for competitor access to their networks … … If this decision stands, we can all expect massive price increases designed to choke off competition. One way or another, we foresee higher prices, lower service standards, and little if any innovation …

(Links updated November 2013)

New Democrats introduce net neutrality bill

This is a straight-up copy of the NDP’s Press Release. (November 2013: release no longer available on the NDP’s website.)

New Democrats introduce net neutrality bill
Fri 29 May 2009

Time to Protect Canada’s Innovation Agenda is Now – Angus

OTTAWA— New Democrat Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay) has moved to get the issue of Net Neutrality onto the political agenda in Ottawa. Angus tabled Bill C-398 today, which will ensure the future development of the internet is not impeded by unfair throttling or interference by telecom giants.

“A neutral internet paved the way for the unprecedented level of innovation we’ve seen over the last 20 years. The principle is simple, it’s the consumer, not the corporations, who should be deciding what content has value on the internet,” Angus said. “We can’t sit back and allow the telecom giants to arbitrarily decide which content should be in the fast lane and which content should be pushed to a slow lane.”

Angus says the recent issue of throttling of third-party ISP competition should be a wake-up call for Canadian consumers.

“The telecom giants didn’t invent the internet. They don’t own the internet and they shouldn’t be able to use their position as service providers to give priority to their own content.”

Angus says the bill is not about regulating the internet, but ensuring a level playing field.

“Net neutrality is a cornerstone of an innovative economy. The federal government must ensure that there is no interference with the unprecedented level of economic, democratic and innovative enfranchisement that has occurred as a direct result of a neutral internet.”

Angus has been the New Democrat’s Digital Affairs Critic since 2006, focussing on Net Neutrality, Copyright and other internet-age issues.

CRTC opens online consultation for Net Neutrality

Another chance to get your voice heard on Net Neutrality!

The CRTC is “gather[ing] views on Internet traffic management practices” through an online consultation (run by Nanos Research). It is part of Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2008-19, launched in November 2008. The deadline for you to participate is at the end of this month, April 30, 2009. The public hearing for this entire proceeding will begin July 6, 2009.

Online consultation: http://isppractices.econsultation.ca. (November 2013: site no longer active)

CRTC news release: CRTC opens online consultation on Internet traffic management practices

Current Internet services have made it possible for Canadians to use new applications and services, such as video streaming and peer-to-peer networking. Certain Internet service providers (ISPs) maintain that this growth in traffic can cause congestion, especially during peak times. This has led some ISPs to manage the flow of traffic on their networks or adopt new business models.

The CRTC is examining the current practices of ISPs operating in Canada, as well as those that could be adopted in the future. The proceeding’s main objective is to determine whether and to what extent such practices are appropriate under the Telecommunications Act.

Through the online consultation, the public is invited to discuss various topics and questions related to Internet traffic management practices. The topics for discussion are:

  • the impact of these practices on the user experience and on innovation
  • the different approaches to Internet traffic management
  • the role of the CRTC in relation to Internet traffic management practices, and
  • the disclosure of Internet traffic management practices by ISPs.

Other links:

CRTC Net Neutrality deadline extended to Monday, Feb. 23

You’ve got a few more days to get your thoughts to the CRTC on Net Neutrality. If you don’t know what it is or why it’s important, I’ve got a few posts tagged with net-netrality that give some basics, or you can check out some of these fine folks below.

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Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2008-19
Notice of consultation and hearing
Review of the Internet traffic management practices of Internet service providers

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From Mediacaster Magazine
Net Neutrality Submission Deadline Extended by CRTC

So-called Net Neutrality hearings called by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) have hit a speed bump. The deadline for public submissions to hearings on Internet throttling or traffic shaping activities by Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has been moved to Feb. 23, a one-week extension on the original deadline date.
<snip>
According to reports, the CRTC had ordered Canada’s ISPs, such as Bell, Rogers and Shaw, to provide traffic information for the hearings. The material was provided on Wednesday, just days before what would have been the point at which submissions to public comments were closed.  Some observers are saying the filing timing seems like a tactic to prevent effective response to the important information from ISPs about network management and technical activities related to traffic throughput, quality of service and quality of experience issues. Organizations such as CIPPIC, PIAC, saveournet.ca and the Open Internet Coalition have voiced opinions on the topic and recommended submissions be made to the CRTC by interested or concerned parties.

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And check out Mediacaster Magazine’s article “Canadians Should Submit to Net Neutrality Hearings

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From Canadian Dimension
CRTC decision may limit innovation, free speech
Matthew Brett, February 10th, 2009

A national coalition of Internet democracy watchdogs are urging Canadians to get involved in the debate over Canada’s open Internet and “Net Neutrality” — before a vital February [23] deadline.

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is investigating the controversial practice of “throttling” or deliberately slowing down Canadians’ Internet speeds. Several large Canadian internet service providers have been caught throttling consumers and competitors in recent months, including a high-profile case involving Bell Canada in November. February [23] is the last day for the public to submit their own comments and arguments to the commission on the issue, online or at http://saveournet.ca/content/take-action. (site no longer active)

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And from Michael Geist
Deadline Nears to Speak Out on Net Neutrality

You should read his full post as there are some great links there as well.

“There will no doubt be many players on both sides of the issue who will respond, but it is very important for the broader public to make their voices heard.  Indeed, a strong response will send a signal to the CRTC about the public concern with net neutrality and serve as a warning to Canada’s politicians that they will have to step up to address the issue if the CRTC is unwilling to do so.”

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And go check out the post from SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active)
NDP’S Charlie Angus is Championing the Fight to Protect Online Innovation

“With the CRTC accepting public submissions on the issue of Net Neutrality, the NDP is urging Canadians to get involved and become aware of the issues at stake. Charlie Angus is championing the fight in the Canadian Parliament. He says the Canadian innovation agenda will be badly compromised if the CRTC gets it wrong on the issue of Net Neutrality.”

(Links updated November 2013)