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In a column written for the Toronto Star a few weeks ago (See http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2282/159/), communications law expert Michael Geist wrote that Canadian ISPs need to be lot more transparent about the limits they place on downloads from peer-to-peer networks. He fingered Rogers as a particular abuser in this respect. The issue raises the larger question of the degree to which ISPs should be allowed to limit or restrict downloads from particular sites. Should there be explicit rules of the road here, and what should these be?
 

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Michael Geist did an op ed piece for the Toronto Star today on 'traffic shaping' that might be of interest: http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/308732

IMO his will be the wedge issue for CRTC regulation of the Internet (and Geist, normally an opponent of net regulation, is eating it up with a fork and spoon - shows how effective a wedge issue this will be).

Once the precedent is established, then the content controls will come.

Imagine how Simsub will be implemented on net content....
 

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thegiffer, I think a discussion of "net neutrality" is quite far off the original topic of this thread and deserving of its own thread. Perhaps one of the mods will make it so.

Here's another article which explains how a federal committee raised the issue with regard to the CBC:
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/02/29/tech-cbcnet.html

I'm not sure how you think "neutrality" leads to "content controls"... that would be the opposite of neutrality, and seems an unlikely outcome from a neutrality regulation.

Do you really want Shaw, Rogers and Telus deciding what is best for you and what sites/content/protocols should incur an extra charge? As just one example, they are clearly in a conflict of interest with regard to competitors in the Voice over IP (VoIP) business. Do you want them deciding you need to pay a surcharge for VoIP services other than their own?

A regulation enforcing net neutrality would lead to both users and sites paying for bandwidth and only bandwidth, without discrimination.

In order for an ISP to ensure good service they would have to allocate enough bandwidth for ALL protocols... no more traffic shaping. To do that, the ISP carriers would have to make certain that the only significant bottleneck on their networks is at the customer end point. Then it is ultimately up to the customer to decide how much bandwidth to purchase and/or to apply QOS at their own router (if needed).

I could go further into the technical aspects, but it seems to me that net neutrality would lead to users actually getting the bandwidth they are willing to pay for, instead of running into bottlenecks and traffic shaping on the ISP's network. If you're a torrent user you'll likely need to pay for more bandwidth than someone who just surfs the web... but isn't that simply being equitable?
 

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I'm not sure how you think "neutrality" leads to "content controls"... that would be the opposite of neutrality, and seems an unlikely outcome from a neutrality regulation.
I'm OK with neutrality, as long as those regulations are enforced by ANYBODY BUT THE CRTC. The problem is that the CRTC, under the Liberals, at least, has been loaded with Ameriphobic control freaks, who want to set up an electronic Berlin Wall on the 49th parallel, along the lines of what China is doing. See http://www.efc.ca/pages/media/ottawa-sun.18nov96.html for what the CRTC chairwoman was saying in 1996.

That was followed by a public process, in which the CRTC tried to weasel in to a regulatory position, under the guise of "fighting internet crime", and that old standby 'Fooooooooooor the Chiiiiiiiiiildren". Thae fact that fighting crime is the responsibility of the RCMP and provincial police forces was blithely ignored... at first. I, along with many others, hammered away at that figleaf/excuse. The general consensus was that the CRTC wanted an excuse, any excuse, to "regulate" the internet, i.e. ban American content.

Do you really want Shaw, Rogers and Telus deciding what is best for you and what sites/content/protocols should incur an extra charge?
Do you really want the Commision for Repression and Though Control deciding what is best for you and what sites/content/protocols you're allowed to access?
 

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So both thegiffer and Walter are saying the CRTC would step in to enforce that ISPs are not permitted to differentiate traffic and then turn around and give them instructions to differentiate traffic?? It doesn't make any sense to me... I just don't see that happening. Sounds like paranoia.

But frankly I don't care who enforces net neutrality, so long as somebody does.
 

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So both thegiffer and Walter are saying the CRTC would step in to enforce that ISPs are not permitted to differentiate traffic and then turn around and give them instructions to differentiate traffic?? It doesn't make any sense to me...
This is the CRTC were talking about here. Do their current policies make sense to you?

I just don't see that happening. Sounds like paranoia.
It wasn't an invention by the tinfoil brigade. It was Mme Francoise Bertrand, soon after being appointed chair of the CRTC, who made those statements about not enough CanCon being viewd by Canadian websurfers in the URL I provided. I also remember both requests for comments on regulation, which drew a firestorm of response.

But frankly I don't care who enforces net neutrality, so long as somebody does.
The Competition Bureau might be an option.
 

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Examples of violation of net neutrality?

I'd be interested to see examples of suspected violations of the principle of net neutrality here in Canada.

Perhaps if people are aware of the steps ISPs have already taken, then they will be more concerned about what might come next.


One example was Shaw's Quality of Service Enhancement (QOS) option for VoIP services other than Shaw's own voice service. This extra cost option was offered from March 2005 to August 2007.
Shaw is now able to offer its High Speed Internet customers the opportunity to improve the quality of Internet telephony services offered by providers such as Vonage or Primus. For an additional $10 per month Shaw will provide a quality of service (QoS) feature that will enhance these services when used over the Shaw High Speed Internet network. Without this service customers may encounter quality of service issues with their voice over Internet service.
This led to Vonage filing a complaint with the CRTC and Shaw filing a lawsuit against Vonage.

Our own DHC published a couple of articles about it at the time:
- Vonage claims Shaw is charging VoIP Tax
- Shaw files lawsuit and denies traffic shaping allegations

The issue created quite a stir in Canada and the US, as evidenced by the hits that come up in a Google search:
http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&safe=on&q=shaw+QOS&btnG=Search&meta=

You can imagine how this might extrapolate to other protocols/sources....
Want better video streaming? Pay a fee.
Want better P2P? Pay a fee.
Want better performance from non-Canadian sites? Pay a fee.

It just becomes an excuse to not provide adequate service in the first place and to make users pay a premium for anything beyond the absolute basics.

I don't know the final outcome of the CRTC complaint or the lawsuit, but thankfully Shaw no longer offers this option. Perhaps the backlash convinced them it was a bad idea.
 

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The Competition Bureau? They're equally incompetent. I believe the relevant stat when it comes to the Competition Bureau was that in 76% of the cases of unfair competition they investigate, by the time their investigation is completed the complainant has gone out of business.
 

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Another example of violation of net neutrality

If you are a Rogers customer, another example may be coming soon to a computer screen near you!


Apparently Rogers has been experimenting with inserting messages into web pages from other sites. Perhaps you have heard of Rogers new usage caps and overage charges? Well it seems they intend to warn that you are nearing your limit by modifying your web pages until you acknowledge you have been notified.

Here's a picture from a test of their Internet Subscriber Notification System:
http://arstechnica.com/news.media/rogers-google.jpg

Here's more information about Rogers plans:
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/pos...p-tests-injecting-content-into-web-pages.html
http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000337.html
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/12/canadian-isps-p.html


Do you want your ISP to feel free to modify the data that you receive from another site if it suits their purposes?

Although their initial intended use may seem unoffensive (though that is debatable), we have to nip this in the bud on principle. What's next? Ads for Rogers services? Paid ad placement for other advertisers? Modifying other types of data?

ISPs should be data carriers, not data modifiers.

Don't let ISPs violate net neutrality under the guise of doing you a favour. This is the thin edge of the wedge.
 

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Bell throttles during peak hours

Bell Canada is slowing down access on its Sympatico internet servers for users who file share during prime time to prevent them from clogging the network, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Bell began the process, which it calls managing the bandwidth capacity but which is widely known as "throttling," on March 14. The company plans to have it rolled out across the Sympatico service area — Quebec and Ontario — by April 7, spokesman Jason Laszlo said.
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/03/25/bell-throttling.html
 

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People who think this should petition the carriers, not bring the government in to enforce their opinion.
Why should we have to "beg" (via petitions) the carriers to fix what they broke? They have already proven that they don't respect the concept, so why would you give them free reign to decide how far they can push it? If net neutrality were regulated they wouldn't be permitted to tinker with it in the first place.

That op-ed piece is way off base. The cable and telephone networks are not private facilities that these companies can operate as they please... that infrastructure has always been regulated and for good reason.

How many cable companies and phone carriers have copper on the pole outside your house? One of each.

So how did these incumbent companies get there? They were the beneficiaries of government regulations that assisted and protected them to ensure they achieved the economies of scale necessary to build such a vast infrastructure.

These facilities must be regulated because it is a government-sanctioned duopoly of infrastructure, making it impossible for other companies to compete on a level playing field.

So don't tell me that these companies should be permitted to use that infrastructure in whatever manner they choose. Government has a responsibility and a duty to ensure that they can't leverage their privileged position in ways that are unfair to other companies and to the consumer... and net neutrality is a key aspect of that.
 

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that infrastructure has always been regulated and for good reason.
Your whole argument rests on the "and for good reason", with which I disagree. Especially in today's world of satellite, wireless, etc., it makes no sense for government to be involved at all. Regulation caused the concentration of power in the internet arena and is now perpetuating it.
 

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UK's #2 ISP says net neutrality is "bollocks"

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a93556/virgin-media-ceo-attacks-net-neutrality.html

In an interview with the Royal Television Society's Television magazine, Virgin Media's CEO Neil Berkett said that "this net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks", and revealed that Virgin is already in talks with unnamed content providers about paying to have their content delivered faster than others.

Berkett even warned that public service broadcasters who choose not to pay for faster access to Virgin's subscriber base would end up in "bus lanes", effectively having their content delivered to consumers at a lower speed.

Virgin Media is the second largest internet service provider in the UK with approximately 3.6m customers.
 
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