The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) this week introduced a new framework which the federal regulator says will guide Internet service providers (ISPs) in their use of bandwidth throttling practices.
To the disappointment of consumers, rather than banning the practice of bandwidth throttling, the CRTC gives ISP's carte blanche to use any type of traffic management they wish but they ask that it only be used as a last resort and that consumers be notified of what type of bandwidth throttling they will be using.
In simple terms, the CRTC is continuing to allow Internet Service Providers to violate every principle of net neutrality so long as they tell the customer who they are going to violate those principles and do so 30 days in advance!
The following is the complete text of the CRTC regulatory policy issued this week.
Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-657
No code has to be inserted here.Footnotes:
A primary ISP is an ISP that is also a Canadian carrier, generally offering both retail Internet services and tariffed wholesale services.
A secondary ISP uses tariffed wholesale services from a primary ISP to provide, among other things, its own retail Internet services.
In this decision, the term “wholesale service” refers to a tariffed service offered by a primary ISP and used by a secondary ISP to provide, among other things, its own retail Internet services.
Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on Implementing the Canadian Telecommunications Policy Objectives, P.C. 2006‑1534, 14 December 2006
technical ITMPs include slowing down a user’s traffic, prioritizing traffic, and detecting heavy users in order to limit their bandwidth.
Economic ITMPs include monthly bandwidth capacity limits, where users who exceed a predefined threshold must pay additional money for bandwidth consumed, and time-of-day pricing for bandwidth consumed.
Subsection 27(2) states: “No Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or the charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage.”
Application-specific ITMPs are those which degrade or prefer one application, class of application, or protocol over another.
In the context of this decision, the term “temporarily” refers to the minimum amount of time required to address a particular problem.
Monthly bit caps are predefined upper limits on the volume of traffic permitted per connection. Additional charges can be applied when this limit is exceeded.
A number of freely available online tools allow consumers to check the upload and download speeds of their Internet connection at a particular moment in time.
Such information, or links to it, should be provided on web pages that describe the actual retail Internet service offerings; for example, where speeds are described, there should be links to information describing how ITMPs may impact these services.
The full report can be found on the Commission’s website at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/PartVII/eng/2008/8646/isp-fsi.pdf
Blocking content refers to an ISP preventing a user from accessing the content of his or her choice, or an ITMP that effectively severs a connection that a user may have to a website or online application.
Jitter is a random variation in the timing of a signal. Jitter results in packets arriving at varying time intervals, causing distortion in the signal. This is best illustrated by the example of broken audio that is experienced with VoIP signals travelling great distances.