The Internet has become one of modern society's most valued resources, It has changed the way people

engage with their communities, as witnessed by the surging popularity of blogging and social networks, It has become a tool for Canadians to express their creativity and unique cultural identity to the world. For today's youth, the Internet has become the dominant medium for social exchange. The Internet's freedom and diversity are facets of a long-standing principle of Internet transport called "network neutrality". This principle obligates those who own the Internet's infrastructure to maintain the integrity of the data that passes through the network. In the past, network operators have respected this neutrality principle and have refrained from blocking, degrading, or prioritizing certain content, services, or applications based on their source, ownership, or destination. But a new technology called Deep Packet Inspection ("OPI") enables networks to squeeze more profit from their infrastructure investment by speeding up network uses which are valuable to the company, and slowing down those which are not. By using OPI to 'throttle' peer-to-peer ("P2P") applications, Canadian network operators such as Bell, Rogers, and Shaw Cable are now violating network neutrality.

Consumer Non-neutral networks Choice hamper consumers' freedom to choose Legislation Net -neutrality laws are not new

Innovation A neutral network fosters innovation Throttling It is discriminatory and negatively affects the user experience It's our Internet


Non-neutral networks hamper consumer's freedom to choose.
F ict ion: An ISP burdened by net neutrality would be forced to offer a "one
size fits all" Internet service because the principle acts as a limit on the operator's freedom to control its network.

Fact: Network neutrality does permit ISPs to sell tiered access plans. The
principle only requires that information which flows over the connection-be "lite" or "extreme"-be carried in a nondiscriminatory fashion. it

Most Canadians receive Internet access through either the telephone wire (DSL) or cable. While consumers are not forced to purchase Internet access from the operator of these networks (e.g., Bell Canada), the Canadian reality is that the data must almost always flow through one of the incumbent telecommunication networks. There is little incentive for these dominant players to voluntarily adopt the neutrality principle - it prohibits profitable deal making between ISPs and content providers. What it does is protect consumers from being treated as a commodity. Without network neutrality these network operators are free to engage in a Tony Soprano business model by demanding a cut from the Internet companies who want access to the residential Internet subscribers.

Telco companies shouldn't decide which Internet businesses succeed
Net neutrality is an important precondition for true consumer choice on the Internet. In the free market, the customer votes with his or her wallet and decides which businesses succeed and which must fail. Hence, Internet companies should win or lose based on the merits of the products they deliver. Network operators should not be permitted to distort this forum by selectively manipulating the flow of information to

Network neutrality laws are not new.
Fiction: Net neutrality laws would expand government regulation. Why legislate when the industry has operated fine without government involvement for decades? Fact: The telecommunications industry has a long history of regulation.
"Common carrier" laws require that communications transmitted over the incumbent networks be carried without discrimination and were in place long before the Internet existed. In the United States, the common carriage principle dates back to the beginning of the US Postal Service. The USPS was formed in part because the Royal Post refused to carry packages for certain groups in society. As the service gained in popularity, so too grew the notion that anyone should be able to send anything, to anyone without fear of his or her message being blocked or manipulated. Western Union had a monopoly telegraph business during the early 20th century. It abused its market position by pricing potential competitors out of business, and refusing to grant universal access to its trunk lines. Western Union stood as an example for United States lawmakers: network operators cannot be trusted to mind the public's interest. With this lesson at hand, stringent common carrier regulations were introduced and enforced as the telephone networks grew across the United States. Since then, "common carriage" has become a fundamental tenant of the communications network for a free and democratic society. "Ground rules are needed to ensure that the bandwidth management strategies of the major telecoms will not lead to anti-competitive practices or arbitrary discrimination against end use applications" -NDP MP Charlie Angus Photo courtesy of Jean Richard


Canada's Telecommunications Act
Unjust discrimination
27.(2) 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.

Content of Messages
36. Except where the Commission approves otherwise, a Canadian carrier shall not control the content or influence the meaning or purpose of telecommunications carried by it for the public.

In Canada, the common carrier provision of the Telecommunications Act reflects our neighbour's skepticism. Section 36 was adopted from an earlier 1968 code that dealt solely with telephone networks. That statue was the Bell Canada Special Act, instituted to ensure that incumbent carriers would not attempt to manipulate content carried over the network. However, the current provisions are insufficient to safeguard network neutrality in Canada. The central problem is that sections 27(2) and 36 predate the Internet, thus were not drafted with modern telecommunications technology in mind. So, for example, it remains unclear what unjust discrimination, undue or unreasonable preference amount in our modern context.

A neutral network fosters innovation.
Fiction: It is often suggested that neutrality legislation would prohibit
network operators from designing a more efficient network and offering tailored products to individual customers.

Fact: Net neutrality would only be violated if a prospective network design
gained its efficiency by carrying certain content or services faster than others. It is certainly possible for a network operator to design and implement a more efficient means of routing packets. One such design is suggested by the P4P working group, a consortium of network operators, universities, content providers, and software designers. It allows network neutrality to be maintained, but enables users of P2P applications to connect to peers inside their own network more frequently, speeding downloads and reducing strain on the network. But in the Internet's short history, the most exciting economic and technical innovations have occurred at the "edges" of the network-that is, the most creative and innovative product designs have come from the users of the network. Network neutrality allows innovation without permission. It was the reason why Tim Berners-Lee was free to introduce his "World Wide Web" to the public without asking network operators what they thought. The college inventors who developed a smart and speedy search algorithm (Google) didn't need the network's green light either; nor did the teenager who designed eBay. The independent news organization, has flourished on the Internet, building innovative programs and media networks like RabbleTV and the rabble podcast network (rpn). Similarly, Vancouverbased has freely developed a successful and unique "crowd powered" journalism website where average citizens upload their stories and media content. The Internet provided these inventors with a free and equal platform to reach an incredible number of consumers, at relatively low 'start-up' costs. In short, network operators are allowed to pick and choose which content gets to ride in the fast lane, future innovators will have to impress (or pay off) the 'gate-keeper' before gaining access to consumers. Prohibiting network operators from interfering with the natural flow of internet traffic is the best way to guarantee that the internet marketplace remains vibrantly competitive. It will ensure that internet 'start-ups' enjoy minimal barriers to market entry. will continue to

WWW Creator, Tim Berners- Lee
"I wanted to design the World Wide Web, as I decided to call it, to be usable for any data on any system. I had watched the failure of so many sophisticated documentation access systems which constrained their users to use one type of computer, or operating system. If really anything could be on the Web, then the Web technology should demand almost nothing of its users. The reason that I could just design the web by myself and set it running on a couple of computers without asking anyone, was that the Internet in tum had been designed to be used for anything, constraining its users as little as possible. So this is one of the qualities of an open platform: it is built to enable, not to control, and it does not try to second-guess the things which will be built using it. The Web is designed, in tum, to be universal: to include anything and anyone. This universality. .. has to allow links between data from any form of life, academic, commercial, private or government ...and leave it to others to distinguish these. It has to be independent of language and of culture. The Web worked because of a number of technical and social reasons. It worked because there was no central bottleneck for traffic, no central link database to be kept consistent, no central place to go and register a new page or a new Web site."

P2P throttling is discriminatory.
Fiction: Bell Canada recently stated that while it does
indeed "throttle" specific P2P applications, only the speed of access is affected. Bell does not block any data, it merely slows down the transfers and users can still enjoy the content once downloaded. a live 'Peercasted' soccer match that was throttled: the degradation is so severe that both the picture and sound are fragmented. In such an example, the throttling has distorted the experience that the broadcaster sought to convey. The average consumer-who typically is not informed by their ISP about what services are throttled - indentifies the garbled experience with the producer to deliver its product. capacity of the content

Fact: The user's enjoyment of Internet content


inextricably tied to the speed and quality at which it is delivered. P2PTV services like VUZE, Joost, and Miro offer

consumers a competitive alternative to the cable and satellite distribution channels, which are often operated by the same company that owns the IP networks in that area. Like many other Internet video services, VUZE leverages P2P technology to deliver high-quality HD content. However, because it relies on BitTorrent, VUZE's service is currently throttled by Bell Canada.

While the current trend in content distribution is toward decentralized mechanisms like P2P, the open and fastchanging nature of the Internet suggests that it is imprudent to make decisions that will affect how these new applications will be received in the future. Do we really want an artificially slow experience to frustrate the uptake of an otherwise groundbreaking technology? We must to ensure that all content owners can deliver their wares to consumers at speeds which don't handicap chances for success-whether it be in terms of increased wait times, or a degraded quality of experience.

At same time as Bell enabled its harsh throttling of P2P services in the name of a "congested network", it also rolled out its own highbandwidth video download service, the Bell Video Store.
Bell's statement implies that the only noticeable difference between throttled and un-throttled content is the amount of time the user must wait while their transfer completes. But while the majority of users who use P2P applications do so for file downloads, many others rely on the technology to stream real-time audio-visual content. There is a difference between waiting five hours longer to download throttled content, and the throttling actually destroying the user experience: Consider trying to watch

"We compete with Comcast [an ISP that throttled BitTorrent} with delivery of content over the Internet. What we have here is a horse race and in this content Comcast owns the race track, in fact, the only track in town. They also own a horse. We are being told they are only slowing down our horse by a few seconds ... studies show that if you delay an application, even just a little bit, people will stop using it" - Gilles BianRosa, CEO, VUZE

They own the networks, but the Internet is ours.
Consumers cannot demand that these Today network operators are paid from end users for corporations continue to expend capital to maintain the network while also proscribing certain methods of managing it. The wires that carry the world's information are the most important part of the Internet and private companies own them. access to content, and from the content host on the other end. If network operators get their way, they will be able to charge content providers for priority access to those customers, justifying their action by the fallacious argument that network operators "own" the Internet. But in fact, network operators contribute very little to the resource itself. When people refer to the value the Internet offers society, they speak about social websites, like Youtube, or collaborative knowledge projects, like Wikipedia, or money-saving software technology, like VoIP. To be sure, the companies that own the networks facilitate the creativity, innovation, and togetherness of the Internet. However, the mere selling of connectivity does not entitle these companies to take responsibility for the value of the social resource itself. Because the content transferred to consumers is not typically owned or authored by the service provider, ISPs are often categorized alongside cable and satellite television providers. But the I internet is a very different medium than television - many authors and owners of content do not create and share their work with the intent of being paid. In fact, some of the best services and content on the Internet are a wholly supported by zealous volunteerism. Websites like Wikipedia flourish without anyone demanding royalties. Open-source
Net Neutrality Rally, Parliament Hill. Photograph courtesy of Aero!!

Fact: Networks are capable of managing the infrastructure
without destroying our resource. We should not be tricked into believing that network management necessarily violates network neutrality. In fact, in the US, Com cast recently committed to a "protocol agnostic" means of managing its network. These companies are due no more thanks for investing in infrastructure than the telephone, hydro, and gas companies that we all do business with. Customers pay for use of those services in the same manner as they do for internet access.

projects such as Linux or Open Office are maintained on the philosophy that everyone may access, use, and modify the software for free. The Internet is unique. It is critical that network neutrality be upheld in public policy. In the absence of such laws, the public should expect Canadian network operators to impose their will on our online choices in order to satisfy their own narrow financial interests.

It would be ludicrous to imagine a hydro company charging a premium to customers who used the service to power innovative appliances, dispensed ice cubes. for example refrigerators that also

Network operators should be properly compensated for their investment in this infrastructure but that is not, however, a reason to allow these companies to 'double dip', charging its customers for access, and for "enhanced services" like reliable access to Face Book.


1. 2. 3.


The CRTC should STOP Bell, Rogers and other Internet Service Providers from interfering with private Internet communications and content (Throttling Traffic) We need to protect innovation, competition, free speech, and Canadian culture, by protecting the principle of Net Neutrality and the Internet's level playing field. Canadian government officials should develop and enforce Net Neutrality rules that ensure Canadian Internet users have open access to applications and content of their choice. We need increased broadband access, competition, transparency and choice for all Canadians.

In additional to the above principles, the coalition calls on the CRTC to carry out net neutrality (or New Media more generally) public hearings in cities across the country, so as to afford as many people as possible the opportunity to participate. Based on the growing importance of digital media to Canadian culture, the economy and the everyday lives of people across Canada; accessible public hearings are necessary to ensure the future of our communication system is decided democratically.


our intemet's level playing field

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful