What Net Neutrality Isn’t

The Globe and Mail reports on plans by major Canadian ISPs such as Bell Canada and Telus to move away from unlimited usage plans toward pricing based on bandwidth used.  The article suggests that net neutrality stands in the way, though I don't think that's true.  ISPs already have bit-caps in place, so the days of "all you can eat" are long gone for many Internet users.  It isn't net neutrality that is the impediment because bandwidth usage pricing is consistent with a neutral network model (in fact, it goes a long way to addressing the traffic shaping concerns).


  1. This is dumb
    This is a pretty dumb move. The cost of calculating usage, enforcing caps and policies and so forth is more than the extra money they will get for any reasonable per-use pricing over bundled services pricing.

  2. Matt Roberts says:

    Brent- Untrue. Ellacoya’s products already provide termination usage data. Its merely a software upgrade to deploy it across all users.

  3. media user
    Price ber BW use seems indeed to encourage a neutral network…

    However what is stopping Telus or Shaw or Roger’s from selling separate “services” with the needed bandwidth “baked in” on what seems to be a separate network (i.e. not part of your internet connection although it may actually be carried by the same underlying infrastructure). For example Video on Demand or Telus’s version of cable (competing against video on internet), or telus telephone service (competing against VOIP).

    They can allocate all the bandwidth to their own services which are “not internet” charge you separate for it and make bandwidth on your generic internet connection expensive enough to discourage you from downloading high bandwidth content such as video elsewhere.

    Isn’t this like the water company going into the soup distribution bussiness and charging you very high prices for tap-water so it would be cheaper for you to buy there soup than make your own?

    Or isn’t it like the postal service starting a mail order delivery store and increasing postage to ludicrous prices and then giving you free delivery on anything you buy from them?

    To have true network neutrality companies that are in the business of providing internet services should simply not be allowed to also be provides of content and services. All they should be allowed to do is provide a generic bitstream. What I do with that bitstream should have nothing to do with them and they should have no vested intrest in controlling what I do with it whatsoever.

  4. media user
    Wanted to add something more…

    Right now I see that we are in a rather bad situation. ISPs like telus are also becoming content providers. They are used to making lots of money from selling separate services.

    What incentive do they have to upgrade the internet service they provide to be ready for “the digital media revolution”? None!

    In fact the best thing for them to do strategically is to not invest at all in providing better internet, since a high-bandwidth generic bitstream provides the consumer to many options to shop around for competing content providers elsewhere. Better to invest in a “separate” network to carry your own services and content and neglect the generic internet connection so it quickly becomes useless and behind the times, not capable of carrying the quality content it might otherwise.

    I’m afraid that’s what already happening right now.

    Compared to countries like Korea and Japan, our “broadband” connection compares like a dial-up line to what we call “broadband”.

  5. from what i know
    Actually all countries need a generic provider to connect to the Internet. Its not possible to connect without no providers. We need more competitions, more innovations so jobs will be created for the telcommuncation sectors. The providers are using the contents to make money to hopefully to invest the fiber optic or other ways to connect to the Internet. But I do not know. Either way, someone in Europe already got arrested for stealing Wi-Fi to enable to connect to the Internet. So you see, providers do have a dilemma, users want more content for easy access and some wants faster access. Now what can Bell, Rogers and Telus do? Now thats their question? Canada is not big enough like Japan, US or even UK.