Network Neutrality

Network Neutrality

Impressions of the Net Neutrality Rally.

Most of the speakers said what I would have expected them to say, as someone who had been hearing from these organizations for quite some time. Their message at the microphone was consistent with their messages on their websites and other speeches.

It was the politicians that offered something to think about.

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OGwifi at

The folks from Ottawa-Gatineau WiFi (ogWiFi) will be at the Net Neutrality Rally on the hill today. They have put together a Wireless Access Point with a WiMax connection to the Internet that they will have with them on parliament Hill tomorrow during the Rally.

Look for Tracey P. Lauriault or Michael Richardson with the black rolley carry-on bag, with the antennae sticking up.

The ESSID is 'ogwifi-netneutrality'

Events next week bring together related policy issues

Next week on Tuesday May 27'th is the Net Neutrality rally (Facebook event), and on Friday May 30'th is the GOSLING 6-year anniversary (Facebook event). There is also rumors about a Copyright bill being tabled soon, and it won't surprise me if it is tabled next week now that parliament is back from recess.

Having a few events together always makes me realize the common thread between the areas of policy that I concern myself with most. We live in a society that is increasingly dependent on technology. These technologies often implement policy, but we as a society do not spend enough time thinking about who is authoring this policy, and how it impacts us.

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Content industry vs content delivery providers: who is the customer?

One of the common problems you will see in policy discussions is that many people are focused on their narrow issues, sometimes even tiny edge-cases, and not investing any time looking at the bigger picture of how different policies interact. This leads to the solutions to these edge cases sometimes causing even worse problems for the proponents.

We had one of those moments at CopyCamp when I tried to demonstrate a bigger picture issue by adding in "Net Neutrality" related discussions into a narrow discussion of business models for authors.

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Rally on Parliament Hill in support of Net Neutrality and the CAIP submission to the CRTC!

The following is text I received of a poster about the event:
Update: Event is being changed to 15th of May (was April 29).

Stop traffic-shaping that is throttling access to the Web

Participate to the rally to ensure net neutrality for all

NDP: Conservatives ‘out to lunch’ on net neutrality

A CBC article by Peter Nowak, a fairly long interview with Charlie Angus on p2pnet and a ComputerWorld Canada by Rafael Ruffolo discusses Charlie Angus' call on the government to properly deal with Bell's Throttling of the services of independent ISPs, as well as network neutrality.

Rafael also interviewed me for this article:

Russell McOrmond, an Internet consultant and head of Digital Copyright Canada, said that Bell’s actions with deep packet inspection is actually violating an existing CRTC regulated service, rather than the principle of net neutrality.

Throttling debate not really about "Internet" neutrality

The following was submitted as a Letter to the Editor of the Hill Times. It wasn't included in the publication this week.

Re: Federal government, CRTC right not over-regulating internet, says Cisco Systems.

There is an interesting observation about the responses to the debate about throttling. Phone companies want the Internet to act more like phone services where people are charged per transaction (per call, per minute, per packet, per byte). Cable companies want the Internet to act more like cable service (bundles of "channels", tiers of access services, etc). Cisco wants to sell more expensive routers which are capable of deep packets inspection and prioritization, even though in many situations increased fiber capacity is cheaper than these routers. Canadian Internet Service Providers, represented by CAIP, simply want to offer Internet Services without the packets of their customers being inspected or manipulated by third parties.

NDP Digital Culture Spokesman Charlie Angus calls on Prentice to deal with net throttling

The following is an article from Charlie Angus' site


The federal government must lay down transparent ground rules on internet “throttling” to ensure that consumers aren’t gouged and innovation isn’t stifled. This was the message delivered to Industry Minister Jim Prentice in an open letter by NDP Digital Culture Spokesman Charlie Angus. In the letter, Angus challenged Prentice’s claim that the government has no role to play in ensuring net neutrality because the internet is unregulated.

Bell Canada Violates CRTC Decision in Order to Stifle Competition

A Campaign For Democratic Media press release:

Bell uses its privileged access for its own benefit, not consumers

Vancouver, April 7, 2008: In March, the CRTC upheld a decade-old policy requiring Bell Canada to allow third-party businesses access to facilities, functions, or services where Bell is a monopoly (see Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-17). But as reported and criticized heavily in the media, Bell has begun shaping internet traffic on its network. By throttling the connection between competing Internet service providers and their customers, Bell is violating what should be reasonably understood as a regulatory requirement.

Net Neutrality at CopyCamp

Most people perceive the Internet as this big cloud that one hires an Internet Service Provider in order to connect to. The problem with making the Internet into this magic "black box" is that we then have a harder time understanding some of the critical policy decisions we as a society need to make about how the Internet works, and who should be making these decisions.

In the session I will host at CopyCamp on Net Neutrality we will head into the cloud and talk about the special computers called routers and physical connections that make the Internet work. While we will make some of this technology real, I will try to keep this from becoming an overly technical session. Contrary to the claims that some special interests make, these decisions are not strictly technical and should not be left to engineers, but public policy questions which we should all be engaged in.

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