Could Canada Kill Net Neutrality?

[SOURCE: InformationWeek, AUTHOR: KC Jones]
It's hard to imagine those cute, cuddly Canadians hurting anything (OK, maybe with a hockey stick)... The Canadian Press reported Tuesday that it obtained documents showing advisers to Minister of Industry Maxime Bernier seem to favor telecommunications companies' arguments against regulation. While the minister has yet to make up his mind on the subject, Bernier has said before that he supports a "consumer first" approach. The papers obtained suggest his staff is siding with Canadian telecommunications companies like Videotron and Telus when it comes to creating a two-tier system for high-speed bandwidth and allowing Internet providers to charge consumers more for preferred service. Network neutrality refers to a counter initiative to that two-tiered design. Major search engines such as Google and Yahoo support network neutrality because of the massive amounts of traffic they deliver compared with other sites. It also became an issue because some carriers that offered subscription-based voice-over-IP services were also transporting their competitors' VoIP traffic. The Canadian debate mirrors one that has been raging in the United States for about a year. The U.S. 109th Congress did not pass any laws on network neutrality last year, but proponents managed to tie up a communications package by making the network neutrality debate part of it. Now Canadians are considering whether market forces should guide the Internet's future. That would allow telecommunications and cable companies to move bits faster for those paying higher fees.



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