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Pelmorex Claims Canadian Carriers Violate Wireless Net Neutrality

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Tuesday February 24, 2009
The submissions to the CRTC's network management proceeding are still coming in (more on that shortly), but there is an explosive submission from Pelmorex Media which deserves immediate attention.  Pelmorex Media owns the Weather Network, which ranks ahead of every major Canadian online media site for online visitors.   The Pelmorex submission includes strong support for net neutrality, but is particularly noteworthy for its emphasis on wireless net neutrality.  Pelmorex argues:

It is Pelmorex's submission that the Commission should adopt a more expansive definition of net neutrality and traffic management that would encompass the commercial practices of both wire-line and wireless network operators.  In our view, the Commission needs to take steps to ensure that, with respect to both wire-line and wireless network operators, traffic management practices are applied equitably and treat like-traffic in the same or comparable manner.  Any management practices that treat certain types of content, particularly content produced or provided by the ISP or network operator, in a preferential or advantageous manner should not be permitted.

Pelmorex is not alone in focusing on wireless issues (Score Media notes that its mobile site traffic now nearly equals its fixed Internet site), but it is noteworthy for including a list of wireless net neutrality violations by Canadian carriers.  While the Canadian carriers are not named, the allegations include:
  • wireless reseller blocking ads from a mobile site
  • wireless carriers stripping out tracking codes embedded in web pages, thereby limiting ability to deliver ads
  • wireless carriers establishing “walled gardens” that provide preferential access that reduces data charges for sites within the walled garden
  • forcing users through wireless carrier homepage when accessing the Internet on feature phones
  • prior approval of applications for use on smart phones
  • extra fees for text messages that include ads
  • wireless carriers limiting to whom ads in text messages may be sold
The lack of Canadian competition within the wireless space has been well-documented with respect to text messaging fees and data rates.  The Pelmorex submission puts its impact on the business community squarely on the table.
Comments (6)add comment

Christopher Parsons said:

...
Next week (once a few other projects are put aside/to bed) I'll be working through the comments and trying to develop a summary document that bears some resemblance to the other summary documents that I've been developing through this PN. I've publicly posted all such summaries (http://www.christopher-parsons.com/blog/writings), and categorized all comments and posts I've made on the proceeding (http://www.christopher-parsons.com/blog/archives/category/politics/crtc).
February 24, 2009

George Smiley said:

Electromagnetic spectrum
Whether carried on a wire or wirelessly, the signals propagated by the major telcos/cablecos is simply electromagnetic waves, such right to propagate same comes as common carriers being licensed by the federal government for the benefit of Canadians.

I'm largely in agreement with the Pelmorex submission, however I would suggest that the submission be taken to its logical conclusion. Companies engaged in propagation as common carriers should not be permitted, under any circumstance, to act as content providers. Transcanada Pipelines is a common carrier of oil/gas, not a retailer interacting with individual households. This is the model to which Bell/Rogers/Telus/ et. al should be made to follow.

It is too tempting for the telcos/cablecos to step around what is best for Canadians in their current roles.
February 24, 2009

Crusty Curmudgeon said:

...
It would help to have a useful Competition Bureau that actually knows what competition is and is prepared to enforce Canada's laws.
February 24, 2009

porky pig said:

Need new watchdog for the watchdogs
Crusty, don't be silly.

The competition bureau has bell and ex-Bell employee's sitting in its highest positions.

Why do you think they did nothing when the people first went to them?
February 24, 2009

CHRONOSS said:

Proof the war is about technology NOT what you do with it
http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=46331

This is about a new type a copyright suit , and shows how the new wave of lawsuits will try and FUD and scare you, i wonder did Microsoft get forced to the deal with the mpaa/riaa, or did they approach them, as the tactics are like the SCO lawsuits against linux now being targeted at ANY developers, any users, investors and anyone involved.

This is the proof its not about the IP. It is about control. AND they are getting desperate and if the SCO case has taught anyone anything its that it is doomed.
February 25, 2009

Jerry Keegra said:

mobile content strategist
Michael, pelmorex is correct in their statement. When acquiring a short-code, the mobile operators first assess whether a service is a competitive threat, and if so: either do not approve, or charge extra fees to they do not feel like their services are being cannibalized. Since we have a weak regulatory framework with no oversight on mobile voice or data services they can get away with anything they want given they have the greatest leverage. Well I guess its not that bad, as the CEO of Globalive says we are just behind the powerhouse Pakistan regarding wireless market and competitive activity.
April 08, 2009

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