For more than a year now, Canadian ISPs, net neutrality advocacy groups, and the CRTC have been battling over the issue of internet traffic management. ISPs, like Bell Canada and Rogers, argue that they need to manage their network traffic in order to stop BitTorrent users from hogging all the bandwidth; net neutrality advocacy groups, on the other side of the issue, believe that the ISPs should treat all internet traffic equally, with the limited exceptions of viruses and spam. Groups like SaveOurNet.ca also argue that Canadian ISPs are inflating the issue in order to gain the leverage necessary to create a lucrative tiered internet service, so that they can charge Canadians more for their access. Finally, somewhere in the middle, the CRTC has been listening to both sides of the argument.
So far this month, net neutrality advocacy groups have been rather successful in drumming up online support for their cause. During the CRTC’s online consultations in February, SaveOurNet.ca claims that more than eleven thousand people submitted comments decrying the throttling practices of Canada’s ISPs. On the Liberal Party’s website voice.liberal.ca—where Canadians can submit and vote on issues of importance to them—the issues of internet infrastructure and net neutrality are ranked second and third, respectively, in terms of votes. TekSavvy, an Ontario-based internet wholesaler, has also taken up the cause and has been openly attacking the policies of its provider Bell Canada: on April 14, TekSavvy CEO Rocky Gaudrault sent around an email urging TekSavvy customers and Canadians to ask the CRTC to deny Bell Canada a tariff application that would allow the company to impose Usage-Based Billing on its wholesale customers.
Due to the overwhelming interest in the subject, the CRTC recently set up another online public consultation, to hear what Canadians had to say about internet traffic management practices, and so far, hundreds have responded. If you still want to weigh in on the issue, you’ll have to do so soon, as the consultation period ends on April 30.