Canada Embraces Net Neutrality

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

Canada Embraces Net Neutrality

WASHINGTON - The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
today released a rigorous Network Neutrality framework designed to
scrutinize all discriminatory practices by Internet service providers.

The CRTC ruled that any form of traffic blocking or prioritization
warrants investigation. The CRTC further determined that such practices
must be held to a strict standard: ISPs must demonstrate that the
practice is necessary to resolve a clear problem; that the practice
does not go beyond what is needed to resolve the problem; and that
investment in building a better network for all Internet uses somehow
cannot solve the problem effectively.

In testimony and filings before the CRTC last summer, Free Press and
the Open Internet Coalition demonstrated that ISPs have both the
ability and the incentive to monitor and control every use of the
Internet, and to engage in anti-competitive and anti-consumer behavior
by discriminating against some uses of the Internet and giving priority
to others. The CRTC's decision establishes a framework for network
management practices that recognizes these important concerns.

"The CRTC's decision makes great strides toward preserving and protecting the free and open Internet," said Marvin Ammori,
general counsel of Free Press, who testified before the CRTC in Ottawa
in August. "The United States must move to prohibit actions by ISPs
that undermine the competitive and innovative free market of the open
Internet -- or risk diverging from the commitment to openness in the
rest of the world."

Highlights of the Canadian decision include:

"The Internet has given people the freedom to innovate without
permission," said the CRTC, adding that "the core of the debate over
'net neutrality' is whether innovation will continue to come from the
edges of networks, without permission."

  • Although "some measures are required to manage Internet traffic on
    ISP networks at certain points in the network at certain times," the
    CRTC found that network investment "should continue to be the primary
    solution" to limit network congestion.
  • When ISPs do manage traffic, the CRTC said, their practices "must be designed to address a defined need, and nothing more."
  • If a complaint is lodged against an ISP's practice, the ISP
    must identify whether the practice "results in discrimination or
    preference." If the practice degrades or prioritizes any traffic to any
    degree, the ISP must show that the practice "is designed to address the
    need and achieve the purpose and effect in question, and nothing else."
  • The ISP must also show that the practice "results in
    discrimination or preference as little as reasonably possible," and
    must "explain why ... network investment or economic approaches alone
    would not reasonably address the need and effectively achieve the same
    purpose" as the practice.

    Read the text of the decision here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-657.htm

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    Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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