ACTION ALERT: Demand net neutrality now
As recently reported by various news outlets, Bell Canada plans to have its ‘third-party ISP traffic shaping’ policy implemented across its entire network by April 7. This policy is more accurately referred to as ‘throttling’, or the practice of shaping Internet traffic by selectively limiting bandwidth.
According to a press release issued by the Campaign for Democratic Media today, without government intervention to prevent this practice, "Internet users will have much less choice in online media, will be restrained in their ability to freely communicate and could end up with a largely prescribed menu of ‘choices,’ many of which will only be available from these very same ISPs."
The Council of Canadians is a founding member of the Campaign for Democratic Media and supports the network’s call for enforceable legislation on net neutrality – a principle that requires Internet service providers not to discriminate by speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.
To learn more, see:
- The Campaign for Democratic Media, http://democraticmedia.ca/netneutrality
- An insightful blog entry by Michael Geist on the matter, http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2787/125/
- ‘Bell Sympatico Throttles Internet Access’ video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlMbxosLtaY
You are encouraged to send the following sample letter to Industry Minister Jim Prentice demanding legislation on net neutrality that would prevent big service providers from restricting our ability to communicate and access information freely on the Internet.
Industry Minister Jim Prentice (MP, Calgary Centre-North)
Ministry telephone: 613-995-9001
Ministry fax: 613-992-0302
Constituency office telephone: 403-216-7777
Constituency office fax: 403-230-4368
E-mail: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca or Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca
I am deeply concerned about Bell Canada’s recent announcement that it will make its practice of throttling official starting April 7.
Canada does not have strict enforceable net neutrality legislation and so there is very little structure in place to prevent the big ISPs from discriminating by speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.
I am outraged that Canada does not have a policy to protect my ability to communicate and access information freely on the Internet and urge you to take action on this matter immediately.
Meera Karunananthan, Media officer, Council of Canadians
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2008
Canada must adopt legislation to stop Bell Canada from shortchanging the public, says coalition
The Campaign for Democratic Media! is outraged at Bell Canada’s recent announcement that it will begin throttling Internet service providers (ISPs) starting April 7 – a policy uncovered and made official after Canadian ISPs realized they were being shortchanged by the telecommunications giant which had begun selectively limiting the ISPs’ bandwidth.
“The problem is that Canada does not have strict legislation to prevent big ISPs from turning the Internet into a network resembling a tolled highway with a slow lane and a fast lane,” says Steve Anderson, coordinator for the Campaign for Democratic Media. “This means Internet users will have much less choice in online media, will be restrained in their ability to freely communicate and could end up with a largely prescribed menu of ‘choices,’ many of which will only be available from these very same ISPs.”
The organization, a coalition of civil society organizations, academics and grassroots media activists, is calling for the federal government to adopt enforceable net neutrality legislation that would require Internet service providers not to discriminate, including speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.
“Net neutrality protects our ability to direct our own online activities,” says Anderson. “With net neutrality in place, a network's job is to move data in a non-discriminatory manner, based on what people want.”
About us: The Campaign for Democratic Media! (CDM) is a network of civil society organizations, academics and grassroots media activists from across the country who are interested in helping to create the conditions for diverse, accountable and quality Canadian media.