Net Neutrality And Creative Freedom (Tim Wu at re:publica 2010) by 
Anna Lena Schiller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7VfazT

Net Neutrality And Creative Freedom (Tim Wu at re:publica 2010) by Anna Lena Schiller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7VfazT

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality at the Industry Committee

Yesterday I appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology as part of their examination of telecom deregulation.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation, which I took to be an opportunity to discuss net neutrality.  I hope I didn't disappoint – I've posted my opening remarks below.  I focused on three issues in my opening: net neutrality, broadband strategies, and anti-spam legislation.   I tried to emphasize the need for action now, particularly with Canada developing an international position on net neutrality at the OECD (which behind the scenes is developing a paper on Internet traffic prioritization). The remarks attracted some interest from the committee, particularly Bloc MP Paul Crête, who asked many questions on each issue.  It will be interesting to see whether these issues make into the committee's final report.  My prepared remarks were as follows:

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February 27, 2007 5 comments Committees, News

The Telus Porn Problem

The Globe and Mail provides an inside perspective on the company came to drop the adult content offering, but more interesting is this post from Mark Wells that offers an alternate perspective – wireless net neutrality.

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February 22, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Bernier Before the Industry Committee

Industry Minister Maxime Bernier spent two hours before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology yesterday afternoon to talk telecom deregulation.  I attended the hearing and came away with several impressions.  First, much of the discussion fails to distinguish between communications services as the discussion frequently veers between local […]

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February 20, 2007 Comments are Disabled News

Hill Times on Net Neutrality

The Hill Times covers the growing lobbying effort in Canada around the net neutrality issue with news that Amazon.com has regularly visited Ottawa to discuss the issue, Rogers claims it doesn't block packets (it might have noted that it limits bandwidth for applications though) and Bell Canada implausibly claims that […]

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February 19, 2007 4 comments Must Reads

The Canadian Net Neutrality Debate

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) discusses the recent revelations that Industry Canada is highly skeptical about the need for net neutrality legislation.  I argue that the need to prevent a two-tier Internet in Canada has never been greater.  The Canadian competitive landscape is dominated by a handful of companies, with the top five providers controlling 84 percent of Canadian Internet connections.  Indeed, Canadian consumers who have access to broadband networks (many communities are still without access) invariably face steady price increases and service limitations from the indistinguishable choice between cable and DSL.

Leveraging their dominant positions, Canadian telecommunications companies have been embroiled in a growing number of incidents involving content or application discrimination. Over the past two years, Telus blocked access to hundreds of websites during a dispute with its labour union, Shaw attempted to levy surcharges for Internet telephony services, Rogers quietly limited bandwidth for legitimate peer-to-peer software applications, and Videotron mused publicly about establishing a new Internet transmission tariff that would require content creators to pay millions for the privilege of transmitting their content.

The government documents uncovered last week confirm that Industry Minister Maxime Bernier is aware of the situation.  

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February 14, 2007 10 comments Columns