Last week, Congressional Representatives Ed Markey and Anna Eshoo introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009. Public Knowledge provides a great rundown of the net neutrality bill. While some have suggested that the bill merely allows the U.S. to catch up to Canada, a closer look reveals that the bill would move the U.S. far beyond Canada in dealing with net neutrality issues as it directly addresses many of the issues raised during the CRTC network management hearing. In particular:
1. Traffic management guidelines. It establishes a reasonable network management traffic management guidelines similar to those proposed by the OIC and CIPPIC. The bill states:
a network management practice is a reasonable practice only if it furthers a critically important interest, is narrowly tailored to further that interest, and is the means of furthering that interest that is the least restrictive, least discriminatory, and least constricting of consumer choice available.
This is not current Canadian law, though the CRTC has been asked to adopt something very similar.
2. Transparency. The bill requires full public disclosure of traffic management practices, something opposed by some ISPs at the traffic management proceeding. The bill states:
each Internet access service provider shall provide to consumers and make publicly available detailed information about such services, including information about the speed, nature, and limitations of such services. Each Internet access service provider must publicly disclose, at a minimum, network management practices that affect communications between a user and a content, application, or service provider in the ordinary, routine use of such broadband service.
This bill would provide far greater mandated transparency than that found in Canada.