Thursday, October 22, 2009

In support of net neutrality in Canada

The CRTC just issued a ruling outlining its Net Neutrality guidelines, and suffice to say, their ruling is pretty much a joke.

I quickly wrote up a little text trying to raise some support of my opposition to the ruling,not sure if the CBC will publish it because I submitted it full of spelling mistakes (again). Here it is:

This ruling by the CRTC is extremely disappointing and short-sighted.

Let me first lay the foundations of my argument:
1) Canada is one of the countries with the most expensive telecommunication services in the world.
2) As the article states, the level of service is very low in Canada (speed and quality wise): "The ruling also comes as Canada has come under criticism for the state of its broadband infrastructure."

These two points are well know facts, especially in my environment (I am a telecom engineer working for a big equipment provider).

These two points are direct caused to a single reason:
3) Canada is one of the countries with the lowest level of commercial completion in the telecom market.

In a country of 30 million people, we really have only 3 companies operating Wireless networks (2 of which are soon to team-up) and 2 companies operating land-line networks.

I am originally from a country that has less than 7 million inhabitants yet it also has 3 wireless providers. See a problem here? If you don't, well I do. This lack of competition is counter-productive and is putting a break on development of telecom infrastructure in Canada.

And now, these telecom operators have the guts to come and tell us that some BitTorrent is clogging their network. This is an insult; a spit in the face of consumers.

What's clogging the networks (if they are clogged indeed, which I doubt) is the chronic under-investment in the telecom infrastructure in our country.

What civil servants in the CRTC fail to grasp is that this a system that they have created, through the protection of these artificial monopolies, and that this system is no longer working, as consumers and business are suffering from high prices and low services.

But what is the scariest here is that the CRTC and telecom operators are gambling with the future of our country. Information technologies, data exchange, technical innovation and services have long proven to be the economic future of Canada and the developed world in general. And the fundamental infrastructure of a knowledge-based economy is the telecom network.

The CRTC has just allowed telecom operators to freely decide when to slow down this knowledge-transfer. This is a sad day in Canadian history.

PS: I am calling Bell to unsubscribe from their services. I will go with a smaller player who (hopefully) wont throttle my personal communication.

And here is a second text:

This is a truly sad day in Canadian history. The CRTC just made a decision that will negatively impact the economic future of Canada.

The developed world is now driven by the "knowledge economy", which is the only field in which economic growth is still occurring for already developed countries. And just as roads and trains were the foundation-infrastructure needed to developed the industrial economy, so is data-transfer networks the foundation infrastructure of the knowledge economy.

Monopolistic telecoms have already been granted a super-position by the CRTC (who allowed them to be monopolies) and have used tax-payer money to build their nation-wide networks.

Now the CRTC also allows them to indiscriminately throttle traffic.

This is a mistake: the CRTC should have given clear and well defined cases only in which it would be possible to throttle.

The CRTC, by leaving it to the telecom operators to choose when to apply throttling has basically given them "carte-blanche" to do whatever they want.

This was a grave mistake.

This must be reversed.

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