Network Neutrality - Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2008-19

The CRTC recently considered network neutrality – the issue of whether Internet Service Providers should be permitted to discriminate against different types of traffic that passes on their website.  The idea is that ISPs, much like phone companies, are carriers and merely carry messages from source to destination, neutrally, without discriminating against one type or another.

On November 20, 2008, the CRTC issued Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2008-19, a public consultation intended to explore these issues. CIPPIC made submissions in this proceeding and participated in a six day hearing on behalf of the Campaign for Democratic Media. CIPPIC/CDM called on the CRTC to put in place rules to ensure ISPs no longer act in such a discriminatory manner and to find that current ISP application-specific throttling practices violate the Telecommunications Act.

On October 21, 2009, the CRTC issued Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-657, which put in place a framework for assessing ISP traffic management practices. The policy states that ISPs can use technical traffic management practices such as throttling only as a last resort, and even then, must justify them as minimally intrusive. While the CRTC did hint that traffic management targeting applications might be problematic, it did not rule on any current ISP practices. Instead, it put the onus on consumers to bring forth complaints against specific practices before deciding what to allow.

On January 28, 2010, as part of a consultation (Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-43 and 2010-43-2) examining the obligation to provide universal Internet and telephone services to Canadians, the CRTC sought input from stakeholders regarding the question of whether the net neutrality framework established in TRP CRTC 2009-657 should be applied to mobile/wireless services. CIPPIC (acting on behalf of, formerly CDM) argued that given the issue of wireless net neutrality is a pressing one and, given the growing importance of wireless communications in the day to day lives of Canadians, the CRTC should apply its framework to mobile services without delay. On June 30, 2010, the CRTC agreed to do so, applying its more general net-neutrality framework to mobile and wireless services in Telecom Decision CRTC 2010-445.

CRTC Decisions

CIPPIC Submissions - TPN CRTC 2008-19

CIPPIC Submissions - TNC 2010-43-2

  • Letter to Commission, March 15, 2010

  • Letter to Commission, April 29, 2010