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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Whose Net? Our Net! (We All Scream for Net Neutrality)

Net Neutrality Bill in Canada

Canadian Member of Parliament Charlie Angus has introduced a private member's bill on Net Neutrality in Canada:

Charlie Angus, who represents Timmins and James Bay, launched his bill one day after 300 people showed up in Ottawa to protest the issue. "You are citizens of a digital realm and you have rights," Angus told the crowd, according to the CBC. The crowd then chanted, "Whose net? Our net!" As a slogan, this leaves something to be desired, but it does get the point across.

The debate has been sparked in large part by recent revelations about traffic`shaping by Bell Canada, shaping that has allegedly reduced the speed of many`P2P sessions by 90 percent. It applies even to ISPs who resell wholesale`access from Bell, and these ISPs have brought Canadian regulators into`the battle over the issue.

Angus sings the net neutrality blues Angus wants Parliament to debate the topic, and his brief bill amends Canada's Telecommunications Act to prohibit various forms of discrimination. P2Pnet hosts a copy of the text, which outlaws "network management practices that favour, degrade or prioritise any content, application or service is transmitted over a broadband network based on its source, ownership or destination." Reasonable network management is still allowed, and ISPs are explicitly allowed to charge different prices for different levels of bandwidth.

Pop Footnote: For those among you who recall trivial music minutiae Angus’ name may seem familiar. Charlie was an original member of the early 80’s ‘punk rock’ outfit, L’Etranger. Yes, the one that included Andrew Cash as a member and the same one that played at your University Pub if you attended at that time. Subsequently, Angus left the band to form Grievous Angels.

Listen to CBC’s Search Engine Podcast on Net Neutrality for more information.

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