Network Neutrality

Network Neutrality

Canada Sleeps Through War to 'Save the Internet'

Bryan Zandberg has an article in The Tyee about Network Neutrality that references many of the Canadians working in this area (Kevin McArthur, Professor Michael Geist, Marita Moll and Leslie Shade). After the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum I posted my own article about the connection between net neutrality issues and the highly controversial "Digital Restrictions Management" (DRM).

The references an online petition as indication that there isn't much Canadian interest in this issue. I don't agree, given a single meeting with a politician can have a greater impact than any number of signatures to an online petition. There is a reason why Digital Copyright Canada uses a paper petition: it is accepted by parliament, can be tabled in the house (unlike an electronic petition), shows up in Hansard and debate indexes, and has an impact on the debate.

Net Neutrality:A Public Discussion on the Future of the Internet in Canada

The Librarian Activist BLOG has an announcement of a panel discussion in Ottawa on Net Neutrality on February 6, 2007 , 7 pm. Admission is Free.


  • Michael Geist: Professor of Law, Research Chair of Internet and E-Commerce Law, University of Ottawa
  • Ren Bucholz: Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy Coordinator, Americas
  • Andrew Clement: Professor, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto; Principal Investigator, Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking
  • Bill St-Arnaud: Senior Director, Advanced Networks for CANARIE, Inc.

Canadian Network Neutrality website

Kevin McArthur has set up a site to discuss Net Neutrality.

The battle for net neutrality is being fought actively in the United States. Many people, including internet founders like Vince Cerf, Pop Stars like Moby and politicians like Ted Kennedy are getting involved in the fight and helping to get the message out in the United States. In Canada, however, very little is being done to fight for net neutrality. This site is dedicated to education about the issues of fundamental fairness, corporate ethics and your rights in this issue.

Kevin McArthur is the CEO of StormTide Digital Studios, and talks a fair bit about the net neutrality issue on his personal website/BLOG.

Videotron Rekindles Fear of a Two-Tier Internet

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column discusses the renewed net neutrality concerns in Canada in light of comments from a leading cable executive promoting the establishment of a new Internet transmission tariff that would require content creators of all sizes to fork over millions of dollars for the right to transmit content to ISP subscribers. The column notes that a policy review recommended a net neutrality legislative provision, yet there are indications that the government will ignore the issue when telecommunications law reform is introduced. Toronto Star version, Homepage version

CLUE policy coordinator at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum

(See copy on CLUE's BLOG , p2pnet)

CLUE supporters might ask what Telecommunications Policy has to do with Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), and why I would be at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum. My interest in FLOSS came out of my interest in community networking where networks and the software that controls them are decentrally controlled. It turns out that many of the recent and most controversial "copyright" related policies that threaten FLOSS, such as anti-circumvention policy (legal protection for DRM, DMCA, 1996 WIPO treaties), is also a derivative of telecommunications policy discussions, but with the opposite vision of these networks.

'Deep packet inspection' tools allow Internet service providers to direct traffic

Jack Kapica of the Globe and Mail introduces the "net neutrality".

Bandwidth shaping is shaping up to be a bitter fight, promises Philippa Lawson of the University of Ottawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. "It's nothing less than a battle for the future of the Internet."

I sent in the following letter to the editor which explains my views.

The debate over traffic shaping is like the debate over other technical measures. The question needs to be: who owns the thing that the technical measure is being applied to, and is the technical measure protecting the interests of the owner or protecting the interests of a third party.

Indie-Rock Revolution, Fueled by Net Neutrality

An article on, set up as part of the discussion in the USA about network neutrality, includes the following :

“For musicians, net neutrality means they should have the unfettered ability to make their work available to potential fans without undue interference from corporate gatekeepers. Similarly, music fans should have the ability to access this music via a range of legitimate business models. Net neutrality also ensures the continued innovation that has spurred the growth of the indie sector, the transition to a legitimate digital economy and, more widely, consumer adaptation of broadband services.

The attack on neutrality is just the latest attempt to put the Internet genie back in the bottle, with technological mandates like the DMCA (1996 WIPO treaties) and the "broadcast flag" type legislation being far more harmful. Hopefully the growing number of musicians releasing songs about these issues will be heard over the static of the old-economy lobby groups (CRIA/RIAA,etc).

Canada's Telecom Policy Review: The Rest of the Story

Coverage of the release last week of Canada's telecommunications policy review centered primarily on the call for a new regulatory approach that emphasizes market independence over government interference combined with a slimmed-down CRTC and list of policy priorities. Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column focuses on the rest of the story as the report identified a series of important areas – including network neutrality, ubiquitous broadband access, privacy, spam, and consumer protection - that merit government intervention or support. Toronto Star, Michael's BLOG

Telecom Panel report gets mixed reaction from CIPPIC

NEWS RELEASE: 22 March 2006, Ottawa, ON

Telecom Panel report gets mixed reaction from CIPPIC

A three-person panel appointed by the Minister of Industry released its report today, recommending large-scale deregulation of the telecommunications market. The Panel recommended that regulations be retained only where market forces cannot achieve policy goals within a reasonable time, and where the benefits of such regulation outweigh the costs. It also proposed a number of new initiatives, including a comprehensive federal program to deploy broadband service in all remaining unserved areas of the country, and a new Telecommunications Consumer Agency to resolve consumer complaints against telecom service providers.

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