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.