The Year of Net Neutrality, Part 2
August 8, 2008 12:08 PM   Subscribe

It seems that previous MeFi post heralding The Year of Net Neutrality may have been frighteningly accurate. Between the recent CRTC and the FCC filings on Bell's illegal throttling practices in Canada, and FCC ruling against Comcast to "Stop Blocking Internet Traffic" in the USA, it seems the issue is finally sparking action, and we may be seeing much more to come. For those interested, there is an open-source documentary called Human Lobotomy which discusses the way this issue weighs on freedom of press and freedom of speech, and also an activist blog, Save the Internet which promises to stay abreast of the issue.
posted by tybeet (5 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's always nice to see that a previous post I made still has relevance :) Nevertheless, I think that what I said last time is still true -- Verizon in particular threw their weight against Comcast, and while the FCC decision nods to the competition issues surrounding Comcast's throttling, that wasn't the crux of the decision and I doubt that the FCC will push that angle much in the future.

It's good news that the most egregious forms of throttling have been smacked down, but the battle is far from over and the next part is going to be much tougher, because it's much less intuitive -- as I pointed out last time, the new fiber networks (e.g. FiOS and U-Verse), if they move to per-byte pricing (which seems likely) could create some problems.
posted by spiderwire at 12:35 PM on August 8, 2008

I'm glad to see this ruling as I am a Canadian citizen and have a strong grudge against Bell Canada for 3 months of terrible high-speed (and I use that term "high-speed" loosely) internet. My only criticism is that, to my understanding, it doesn't prevent ISPs from throttling bit-torrent. It only ensures that Bell doesn't throttle bandwidth it leases to independant ISPs.
posted by Pseudology at 2:10 PM on August 8, 2008

I'm glad to see this ruling as I am a Canadian citizen

If you read the "throttling practices" link leading to the CRTC filing, you'll see that no ruling has been made yet. In fact, the CRTC denied a motion to force Bell to immediately lift the bandwidth throttling, as an interim action before final ruling. There's still plenty of time for the CRTC to screw this one up, so don't start partying just yet.

Also, yes, nowhere in that CRTC filing does it mention banning or curtailing the practice of throttling bandwidth. Luckily, most third-party DSL providers in this country seem to build their businesses on the backs of people fed up with Bell's bandwidth quota and server hosting policies, so I don't think this is something to worry about just yet.
posted by chrominance at 2:26 PM on August 8, 2008

The thing with the particular CRTC filing I linked to is that, while Bell has been throttling its own userbase for a while now, they only just started to throttle all of their reseller's userbases, and without even telling anyone.

This was a measure that's a clear sign of anti-competition tactics, since resellers were providing a much better services and people started noticing, Bell must have been losing a fair % of their members.

It was my unfortunate luck that I switched from Bell to Videotron because Bell had been throttling my bandwidth. Three months into a contract with Videotron, and they changed their "Unlimited" bandwidth plan to a 100GB cap - again, without warning. I ended up owing then $1400 because the supposed letter they sent me informing me of this never arrived.

I promptly searched out another provider: TekSavvy, who was a Bell reseller offering unlimited service and without any throttling. Little did I realize that weeks before, Bell had started throttling them. It's been a real problem, as I have nowhere to turn that doesn't choke my download speeds to 30kb/s when I should have that speed in the hundreds.

I've been watching this since hearing the CTRC filing opened up over at dslreports, and I'm hopeful of the ruling against Bell.
posted by tybeet at 3:26 PM on August 8, 2008

Also, thanks for pointing out that discussion post of yours, spiderwire, it was good info.
posted by tybeet at 3:27 PM on August 8, 2008

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