I appeared on CBC’s As It Happens (real audio) this evening to discuss Toronto Hydro’s wifi plans. Evan Solomon, who conducted the interview, seemed a bit bothered by the idea that an electric utility is getting into the Internet services market. I defended the utility, arguing that the more competition […]
Archive for March, 2006
Ontario police have arrested a 25 year old man under Section 326 of the Criminal Code which covers theft of communications. The alleged crime? Theft of Internet connectivity by unauthorized access to a wireless network.
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, BBC version, homepage version) looks back at last week’s announcement of changes to the Chinese domain name system. While Chinese officials have clarified that this does not involve an alternate root, I argue that the developments are significant since they reinforce the mounting frustration with ICANN’s failure to develop multilingual domain names. Moreover, China’s ability to implement its own IDN system without ICANN support is likely to serve as a model for many other countries around the world.
Policy Options features an article on the impact of blogs on the 2006 federal election with a good recap of the Bulte story.
Update: I have now had the chance to read the Vonage filing which is better described as a request for an investigation as opposed to a complaint. In fact, Vonage concludes its submission by arguing that "Shaw' s QofS Service has the potential to greatly damage nascent competition for local VoIP services across its serving territory. Vonage Canada is of the view, however, that not enough is known at this point about the Shaw service in order to formulate an appropriate regulatory response."
Vonage Canada has filed a complaint with the CRTC against Shaw over Shaw's VoIP premium surcharge. The cable company charges a $10 "quality of service enhancement" fee for VoIP users, which Vonage is characterizing as a VoIP tax. Vonage argues that because it "competes directly with the telephone services of the network operators that also provide the high-speed Internet access, the incentives to discriminate against us are clear. This will result in less innovation, less choice and higher prices for Canadian consumers in the long run."
This could become a hugely important case since much of the two-tier Internet is based on similar enhancement fees for either customers or web services. The CRTC mistakenly declined to address the net neutrality last year in its VoIP decision, despite considerable evidence that this was an emerging issue that could have debilitating effect on the Internet. In the months since that decision, both the telcos and cable cos have openly discussed their plans for a two-tier Internet. While it appears that Vonage has focused primarily on the need for greater transparency with the Shaw fee, this has opened the door to the CRTC becoming more engaged on network neutrality.