CRTC Launches Online Consultation on Net Neutrality

As I discovered on Michael Geist’s blog, the CRTC is ofering Canadians the opportunity speak out on Net Neutrality in advance of their hearings on ISP network management practices.

I had this to say, in the Impact on User Experience section:

To me the internet is an infrastructure service. I don’t expect my provider to give preferential treatment to any type of traffic based on the source, content, or destination. Just as I don’t expect the city to regulate my water pressure based on whether I’m watering the lawn or taking a shower.

But to continue the water analogy I understand there’s a difference when I run a bath (i.e.: bit torrent) and when I wash my hands (i.e.: e-mail). The bandwidth consumed by bit torrent can have a negative impact on my internet neighbours unless the total bandwidth is sufficiently high. Especially if we’re all torrenting at the same time.

I’d love to see over-building of the network, but it’s only a short-term solution until more people get on the net and use up all the over-capacity. Traffic management is unfortunately a necessary tool to ensure consistent service for all subscribers as-is continuous re-building of the network.

But the management should not require deep packet inspection – a simple high level valve that adjusts the pressure regardless of what is going through should be sufficient and would keep the ISPs neutral regarding how we use the internet.

It certainly is a concern to me that some ISPs have conflicting interests (they run multiple distribution channels, ex.: Cable-TV vs. Internet) and might specifically block or limit my access to their competitors in order to artificially increase the viewership of their material.

It would be like the water company cutting of my water if I didn’t use their brand of soap!

Cross-posted on Cameron-Schultz at CRTC Launches Online Consultation on Net Neutrality

2 comments

  1. Big fan of Net Neutrality!!

    That said, I believe that we have to let the CRTC know that letting the cable company throttle down on youtube, or the telephone company closing the valve on Skype is the principle reason for their desire to throttle. It has nothing to do with capacity, nor with cost. They build in the cost of expanding and maintaining their network in to the price of internet access. They want to protect their hold on premium services.

    Unfortunately, we will never see them create an oversupply of capacity, as this would drive the prices down. After the 2000 Telecom bubble burst, the U.S. had a glut of dark fiber, that is either still lying idle, or was bought up by Google.

    Let’s hope that our elected officials and our grassroot movements will not let this opportunity pass us up.

    I’ve already spoken to my MP and let him know were I stand. Let’s hope that a free (or at least minimally metered internet) is in our future and will remain protected.

    What really worries me is what happens to our packets when they cross geographical borders and they do deep packet sniffing there?