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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today approved Canadian Internet Service Providers throttling of Internet connections in a decision that stands in stark contrast to the requirements being contemplated in the United States, which will require that such control does not interfere with customers’ choice of applications or services. “We just went backwards at warp speed,” lamented John Lawford, counsel for a coalition of consumer groups that fought for an end to throttling of Internet traffic of consumers, “ while we watch the U.S. rocket ahead.”
“The CRTC has said in this decision that ISPs own your content and own your Internet connection” said Lawford, “You just got owned.”
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre represented the Consumers’ Association of Canada, Canada Without Poverty and Option consommateurs during the hearings on net neutrality. PIAC argued that the Telecommunications Act required ISPs not to interfere with customers’ Internet traffic unless such traffic was clearly harming other users of the network and not otherwise.
“ISPs should act as common carriers and just carry traffic, not as broadcasters deciding what you watch” continued Lawford, “but now they can decide what gets through – and how much they get to charge you for the privilege.” Lawford also noted the CRTC’s requirement for the ISPs to disclose their “Internet traffic management practices” will not actually stop any of the practices.
The CRTC decision and all public comment, including PIAC’s submissions, along with those of thousands of ordinary Canadians who overwhelmingly asked for more net neutrality, not less, is available on the CRTC website.