This is a heads up, the CRTC (Canada's FCC) is holding a week long
hearing on net neutrality in Canada ("differential pricing" is the used).
Canada has had its "ITMP" (Internet Traffic Management Practices) policy
since 2009 which deals with unfair throttling, and now, we are arguing
on zero rating and sponsored content stuff).
It will be broadcasted at http://www.cpac.ca (at bottom of home page
there should be a selection for the CRTC hearing). Note: you can choose
between english, french of floor (untranslated).
Days generally start at 09:00. Can end at any time.
Either @CRTCeng or @CRTChearings will be tweeting links to presentations
as each presentation begins.
hashtag: #CRTC #Diffpricing
Facebook did not wish to appear but was "invited". Last time the CRTC
did that, it was with Netflix and Google and sparks flew ("you don't
regulate us, we don't have to answer"). (It appears on Tuesday right
after me, so they should be roughly ~ 10:30 or 11:00.)
The original Notice of Consultation:
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-192 | CRTC
And the record of the consultation:
Note: this started with a different proceeding in September 2015 2 parts
1 filings against Vidéotron who started zero rated music on its wireless
service for music services that Vidéotron approved/selected.
What is the status of net neutrality in Canada?
The Telecom Act has had a clasue against undue
preference/discrimination, as well as a "cannot control content", but
both have loopholes. (27(2) , a carrier can argue a
preference/discrimination is not "undue", and for 36 (control of
content), exemptions can be granted by CRTC.
The 2009 ITMP framework was more about throttling and treating packets
In 2010, the CRTC decided to include wireless services into the ITMP
framework, treating them as ISPs.
But since then, incumbents have begun to zero rate stuff and there were
2 challenges. In 2013 (decided in 2015), Bell Canada was challenged for
zero rating its own TV service on its own wireless service. CRTC
decided Bell couldn't do that, but Bell went to Federal Court of Appeal,
arguing its MobileTV offering was covered under the Broadcasting Act and
not Telecom. Federal Court sided with CRTC, confirming that the content
may have been Broadcasting but it was delivered over telecom.
Despite this, Vidéotron launched Zero Rating for music in August 2015,
and instead of deciding on this the same way it did for Bell, the CRTC
decided to launch a wider public consultation on whether zero rating
should be allowed or not.
The hearing that will happen this week is a continuation of a process
which saw 2 rounds of submissions as well as 2 interrogatories and
included the record of the Vidéotron process from 2015. In a couple of
weeks we have final replies and CRTC will take 4-6 months to rule on matter.
Competition Bureau basically says that zero rating is OK unless the
contrent being zero rated is owned by the ISP's organisation. Consumer
groups state it isn't OK, and incumbents state it is OK and that there
should simply be individual challenges whenc onsumers feel one package
abuses 27(2) or 36.
As side note: Telus hires Eisenach lobbyist to write pro-incumbent
reports. He was also hired by the Trump campaign. Not sure if he will
appear this week.
Zero rating is probably pretty popular with end users and puts net neutrality advocates in a difficult position. It is an astute political move. The EU allowing zero ratings exceptions because it is popular.