Canada leading the world

As CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein was quoted in the Commission’s press release:

Canada is the first country to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to internet traffic management practices

In a regulatory policy decision issued this morning, the CRTC has affirmed that it already has sufficient legislative authority within the Telecom Act to police discriminatory practices by ISPs. Similar clauses do not exist in US legislation.

Contrary to rhetoric from people who really know better, Canada doesn’t lag the US in net neutrality legislation. As we have written before, the generalized nature of anti-discrimination provisions in Canada’s Telecom Act have continued to provide sufficient tools for the CRTC to protect consumer interests on the internet.

Further, the CRTC has stated (at paragraph 116 of today’s decision) that it expects mobile wireless internet services to abide by the principles set out in this decision – likely the first regulator in the world to apply such provisions in a mobile context. Even though it lacks the ability to enforce these provisions, the message is clear to the mobile industry.

Let me say it again – no other country in the world has a set of rules in place to deal with net neutrality. No other place has regulatory certainty, enforcement processes and a clear framework for defining and dealing with violations of principles that balance the interests of users and service providers.

The FCC and its chair may have made policy statements, but it has not completed a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). Tomorrow, the FCC will perhaps start a long consultation process for its new proposal.

Providing clarity for consumers and the industry alike, Canadian regulators are leading rather than following the FCC.

8 thoughts on “Canada leading the world”

  1. You think this decision sets any sort of policy on net neutrality? All it does is put the onus on the consumer to initiate complaints if they feel like it – after the common carriers institute whatever policies they feel like.

  2. Regarding your comment about the pending review of ITMP for mobile. I'd suggest that the CRTC does not lack the ability to enforce net neutrality rules in the mobile sphere, merely that before it can, it has to re-assert regulatory control through overturning elements of prior forbearance orders. I'm not suggesting it would or that it could in a reasonable time frame, just that it could.

  3. Arbalister – that isn't how the world works.

    Companies that "institute whatever policies they feel like" in violation of the law or CRTC rules don't stay in business.

    They don't get their funding; their officers can get charged with criminal contempt for violating a CRTC order.

  4. Canada lags in everything internet, tv, mobile, home phone, you name it, we pay more for less….allot less.

    10 years ago I had 5mb dsl unlimited no throttleing for $30. That was in 1999.

    Fast Forward to 2009 5mb dsl 60gb cap THROTTLED for $55 ($1 per extra gb over the 60gb cap)

    We are moving backward!!

  5. How long have you been an ISP Mr. Goldberg? Bell was ordered to submit tariffs to allow independent ISP's to provide speeds matching Bell's new offerings. Due date was March 31st. Find me that tariff, Mr. Goldberg. It was never filed. *Bell* took it upon themselves to ignore the order and instead submitted a tariff for UBB. Pardon me if I'm wrong, but they appear to still be in business.

    Bell totally ignored the GAS and AHSSPI tariffs and instituted throttling of those services – entirely without CRTC approval – and in so doing forced throttling onto the independent ISPs. Show me where the CRTC ordered them to cease and desist, Mr. Goldberg. It's now 2 years later, and we have a new framework for making decisions on network management – which would, if applied to the existing throttle, require it's removal…and yet, still, we are throttled.

    Get a clue, pal.

  6. Arbalister – your attitude isn't called for. I'd suggest that you need to clue into how the regulatory system works.

    If you think that Bell has ignored a CRTC order, then you can apply to have the order enforced in the courts.

    If you believe the CRTC is not following the law in carrying out its duties, you can go to court.

    If you believe that an order isn't in the public interest, you have a right to appeal to Cabinet.

    If you want more information on my tenure and experience in the industry, I invite you to download my intro package from my website. I have been dealing with Canadian competitive ISP tariff issues (representing the new entrants) for about 15 years now and I have 20 years experience in defining how competitive networks interconnect.

  7. And I've managed an ISP since 1996 – which I note, is the same time as the last actual work experience you have in the telecoms industry. I assume thats when you became a consultant.

    What I believe has nothing to do with it. From Telecoms Decision 2008-117 dated 11 Dec 2008:

    The Commission approves Cybersurf's application in part. The Commission directs that the ILECs subject to this Decision, namely Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, MTS Allstream, SaskTel, and TCC, consult with their aggregated ADSL customers and file, within 45 days of the date of this Decision, proposed revised tariff pages to include any matching-speed with respect to existing retail service speeds offering where there is demand by any such customer. The Commission also directs that upon the introduction of a new retail Internet service speed by any such ILEC, the ILEC in question is to file at the same date proposed revised tariff pages for wholesale aggregated ADSL services at the same speed. Since then Bell has introduced speeds up to 16 meg. Show me a matching tariff for any of them. There isn't one. That's called "non-compliance."

  8. Arbalister is absolutely right when it comes to the matching speed tariff.

    Bell has completely ignored the issue.

    I don't mean to sound sarcastic, but since they HAVE ignored the CRTC direction for a new tariff, what legal recourse, specifically, is there for Cybersurf et al to get this ruling enforced?

    Because in all honesty, for ANY kind of real competition in the Canadian internet landscape, matching speeds and more autonomy from the wholesale suppliers is not only preferable, but required.

    Sure, there's some interesting things in the CRTC decision re: net neutrality, but when the primary ISPs (mainly Bell) have a literal chokehold on the bitflow, it's all really irrelevant.

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