Net Neutrality: Canadian Style

October 9, 2006 - 0 Comments

SAN JOSE, CA – I would like to draw your attention to a recent academic paper penned by Craig McTaggart, a senior regulatory counsel at TELUS, a Canadian communications company. The paper was prepared for the 34th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy George Mason University School of Law Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A.His paper begins: “A new net neutrality rule cannot be justified as simply a codification of”the way the Internet has always been.” If the Internet was ever predominantly ‘neutral,’ it was at a time when the public was not allowed to use it. Since then, the requirements of Internet users have necessitated changes to many aspects of the Internet’s design and operation, with many of those changes requiring divergence from the Internet’s early customs and architecture. The examples of non-neutrality explored in this paper -preferential content arrangements,distributed computing, filtering and blocking to control network abuse, differential interconnection and interconnectivity, and the impact of resourceintensive applications and users -demonstrate that the Internet and its use are far from neutral or egalitarian. (Italics are mine). Those advocates who would like to see the Internet forced into the mould of a regulated public utility bear the heavy onus of justifying rejection of competitive market outcomes in favour of a stylized vision of public internetworking that prohibits or reduces the incentives for innovation within the network itself. The types of uses to which users are increasingly putting the Internet, as well as the subject-matter of current architectural research, suggest that the incongruity of a net neutrality rule with the interests of mainstream Internet users will only continue to grow. Instead of trying to prejudge what kinds of data service offerings consumers will find attractive in the future, the user-driven evolution of the Internet should be allowed to continue.”Read the full paper here. (.pdf document)

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