Originally published: July 6, 2010
Last updated: July 6, 2010 - 1:00pm
If your Internet service provider can't block some low-bandwidth application like VoIP simply because it competes with one of their own offerings, why should mobile operators have the right to do so? In Canada, they no longer do.
Last week, Canadian regulators decided that ISPs all have to play by the same traffic management rules, regardless of the technology they use to deliver the bits. This makes tremendous sense, as opposed to the technology-centric approach taken previous by Canada (and still used in the US). The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) laid down the rules for wireline ISPs last year, but at the time did not address whether they applied to mobile operators. On June 30 2010, CRTC at last decided to apply the same traffic management framework to mobile Internet access in order to address "potential issues regarding unjust discrimination or undue preference in the provisioning of mobile wireless data services." The country's Internet traffic management rules don't amount to strict "net neutrality," and management practices like P2P delay are still allowed. But Canadian ISPs do operate under a set of useful rules. Internet traffic management must not be "unjustly discriminatory nor unduly preferential." Management must "be designed to address a defined need, and nothing more." Outright blocking of content is prohibited, and so is any "delay" technique in which content is "slowed down to such an extent that it amounts to blocking."
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