Canada's Failure To Actually Enforce Its Net Neutrality Rules Shows Why Focusing On Regulation Is Missing The Point

from the competition-is-the-thing dept

For many, many years we've pointed out that the debate over "network neutrality" in the US was a red herring. The discussions around net neutrality are really just a symptom of the real problem: that we lack true competition in the broadband market. Furthermore, we've noted that any attempt to put in place net neutrality regulations would likely be a failure, because of the lobbying clout of the likes of AT&T and others. The end result would be incredibly favorable to the telcos, not to the public and, in fact, we've seen glimpses of that happening already.

Adding another datapoint (or, several) to this debate is Michael Geist, who got access to information about how Canadian regulators enforced that country's net neutrality rules and discovered that regulators there basically don't enforce a damn thing. They more or less let the telcos do what they want.
Although the CRTC has not publicly disclosed details on net neutrality complaints and the resulting investigations, I recently filed an Access to Information request to learn more about what has been taking place behind the scenes. A review of hundreds of pages of documents discloses that virtually all major Canadian ISPs have been the target of complaints, but there have been few, if any, consequences arising from the complaints process. In fact, the CRTC has frequently dismissed complaints as being outside of the scope of the policy, lacking in evidence, or sided with Internet provider practices. Rogers Communications has been the target of nearly half of all cases opened in response to net neutrality complaints. In recent months, there have been multiple complaints arising from bandwidth throttling of World of Warcraft, a popular multi-player online game. Rogers initially denied any wrongdoing, only to later acknowledge that there was a problem. The company promised to address the issue, though no consequences arose and it was not forced to publicly disclose the issue.
Once again, the problem is not with net neutrality, but with a lack of competition. If you had real competition, people would choose to go with more neutral providers, forcing the market to follow. It's the lack of competition that lets telcos push for less than neutral solutions, and it's the regulatory capture that makes any attempt to legislate neutrality next to useless.
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Filed Under: canada, competition, enforcement, net neutrality, regulation


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  1. icon
    ottermaton (profile), 13 Jul 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: circles

    Oh, let me address this while I'm at it:

    The "regulation method" is ineffective, discourages growth...

    You say this as if it's a bad thing, but the fact of the matter is that discouraging growth should be exactly what regulation does. It's not, it wasn't designed to, but it should.

    Our economy depends on growth, and the myth that growth is infinite. The fact, however, is that it's not. It can not be. There is no such thing as an infinite resource, and an economy is just an abstract representation of resources. Oil (which has in effect taken the place of gold as the backbone of the economy) is definitely not infinite. Not land. Not water. NOTHING.

    Sure, there are resources that are sustainable. Land for farming is an example. Compost, rotate, etc and you can keep using that land forever. The problem is that as growth continues the land has be used harder (less time to restore the nutrients) and can no longer be sustained. You can open up more land to farm, but at some point you ARE going to run out.

    Air (and to extent water) seem to be infinite, but in reality are not. The industry growth that you're so fond of can, will, and is poisoning them both and making them unusable.

    Yes, by all means. Let's continuing growing so that we can keep and expand our luxurious lifestyles. Let's just keep pushing it, keep selling the idea of growth and that everyone can be rich if they just try hard enough, until everything is used up and there's NOTHING left.

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