Mauril Bélanger's speech in May at Net Neutrality rally

With election fever in the air, I wanted to get out the speech (PDF from their office) Mauril Bélanger gave on May 27, 2008 at the rally on the hill for Network Neutrality.

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Talk about confusion...

I was there for this speech. While it isn't word-for-word what was spoken, it covers pretty much the same ground.

My favourite part of the speech was when he talked about 'priority access' for videoconferencing traffic, to fight carbon emissions. Ummm...that would definitely the wrong crowd for that kind of comment! Completely the opposite of what the majority of the crowd wanted to hear, as that is, by definition, not a neutral net.

Overall though, he took a fairly middle-of-the-road approach. As a capitalist who is also against excessive copyright, I agreed with him more than some of my compatriots on the ground. That videoconferencing comment, though, elicited a stunned polite silence through the crowd, with a little muttering...

Lost me at...

While I was previously his constituent and we knew each other well, he lost me at "whoever pays for and owns the pipes".

Given the right-of-way legislation that allows these few companies to run cabling above and below our public and private roads, and considering the massive amount of public subsidies to them, I think that this comment missed the bulk of the debate.

That "last mile" and the basic infrastructure upon which the Internet is built should be considered publicly owned even if privately managed. His speech only confirmed for me how confused some politicians are on this point, and how successful the telecom and broadcast undertaking lobbiests have been.

Of course, the idea that if 2 cell phone companies want to charge for incoming SMS that having a third using an entirely different technology (GSM vs CDMA) means there is "sufficient competition" and that people should just switch providers shows Industry Minister Jim Prentice as even further clued-out.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.