In a telling coincidence (I think), Canadian Press has two net neutrality stories out today. The first is a general piece on network neutrality concerns from a Canadian perspective. Bell Canada is quoted as saying that "our position on network diversity/neutrality is that it should be determined by market forces, […]
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 concerns are apparently not limited to North America. Norway's public broadcaster faced network neutrality issues this past summer after a leading ISP deliberately limited its bandwidth (hat tip – BoingBoing).
The CBC recently released its submission to the CRTC as part of the examination of the future of broadcast in Canada. The submission interestingly raises network neutrality concerns, though it does not use that specific term. Rather, as part of a discussion on Internet video at page 19, the CBC says:
The business case analysis for Internet video is complicated by the fact that suppliers of broadband connections may also have incentives to control the bandwidth available for Internet video. Canadian cable companies engage in "bandwidth shaping" which allocates different levels of transmission capacity to different services according to the operational preferences of the cable company. This type of bandwidth shaping can ensure efficient use of transmission capacity. It can also ensure that Internet video by third parties does not become a threat to the business of the cable company, whether it be the delivery of traditional television programming to cable subscribers, VOD or the distribution of cable company-owned Internet video services. In light of this complex mix of issues, it remains unclear whether Internet video will become a primary means of distributing video content on a commercial basis.
This is network neutrality in action.
Tyler Hamilton of the Toronto Star has an interview with Tim Berners-Lee in which the WWW founder expresses concern about a two-tier Internet.
The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel report was released earlier this afternoon and while the immediate reaction will no doubt focus on the recommendations for a market-oriented approach with significant changes to the CRTC, I would call attention to three other recommendations gleaned from reading the executive summary (the full document is nearly 400 pages).
First, the Panel has called for a new legislative provision protecting net neutrality standards. The panel calls this an open access provision, with Recommendation 6-5 stating that:
"The Telecommunications Act should be amended to confirm the right of Canadian consumers to access publicly available Internet applications and content of their choice by means of all public telecommunications networks providing access to the Internet. This amendment should
(b) take into account any reasonable technical constraints and efficiency considerations related to providing such access, and
(c) be subject to legal constraints on such access, such as those established in criminal, copyright and broadcasting laws."