Citizen Action Monitor

What Canadians should know about the Net Neutrality battle raging in the US

My questioning comment on an online news source draws a helpful, informed reply from p.munkey.

No 2106 Posted by fw, November 25, 2017

A couple of days ago I posted the following question/comment related to an online story about Trump’s Federal Communications Commission’s likely repeal of net neutrality rules:

fjwhite – 2 days ago  

Excuse my ignorance of net neutrality, but what impact, if any, would a loss of a free and open net in the U.S. have on users living outside of the U.S.? — for example, for people living in Canada?

Kudos to p.munkey who promptly replied with the following thoughtful answer. With his permission, I repost it below with some requested minor changes.

In addition, “Munk” , as p.munkey refers to himself, refers to “demonetization” of certain You Tube videos. For any, besides myself, who are unfamiliar with the use of the term “demonetization” in this context, here’s a link to a You Tube video that may help: Why YouTube Creators Are Being Demonetized & What YOU Can Do! (The first 2 or 3 minutes of this 14-minute video should suffice to clarify the meaning of the term.)

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What Canadians should know about the Net Neutrality battle raging in the US by p.munkey (and fjwhite), November 25, 2017

fjwhite – 2 days ago  

Excuse my ignorance of net neutrality, but what impact, if any, would a loss of a free and open net in the U.S. have on users living outside of the U.S.? — for example, for people living in Canada?

p.munkey to fjwhite — 2 days ago

Hi fjwhite,

Consider the Internet as a communications marketplace that is presently open to any vendor/Internet Content Provider (such as The Real News Network). All storefronts and avenues within this marketplace currently enjoy the same accessibility standards with respect to traffic management, or what is known as Quality of Service (QoS) – the agnostic treatment of data. Network QoS properties enable the network administrator, or Internet Service Provider (ISP), to prioritize data to/from a given Internet address; assigning a higher priority to some data traffic over others.

Without an agnostic treatment of data proviso in the Telecommunications Act , or with the abolition of “Net Neutrality”, ISPs will be free to assign priority to select Internet traffic over others. They will be free to charge high rates for Platinum, or V.I.P. access, or they can offer a basic access service at a lower rate. What is expected to emerge is similar to the Marketplace phenomena wherein WalMart has eliminated the competition by pushing out small, medium, and even large competitors through aggressive value chain practices.

By relinquishing the regulations protecting the agnostic treatment of data we are empowering ISPs with the freedom to control access to Internet content, even to the point where ISPs may prohibit content of a certain form that does not meet their corporate requirements. At some point in such a dystopian future, Verizon or Comcast may elect to implement contractual stipulations upon Internet Content Providers prohibiting the trespass of any content across their network(s) that might negatively impact their advertisers or other business interests. We are already seeing this on Youtube through the “demonetization” of certain videos that criticize war and the government. Where TRNN presently publishes content that is critical of the oil and gas industry, Verizon may decide that traffic to/from TRNN [The Real New Network] does not serve their business interest, and may prohibit traffic to/from TRNN from passing across their networks.

There is more at stake here than just throttling upload/download speeds. By allowing the removal of regulations protecting “Net Neutrality”, we are turning over the keys of control over to Corporate decision makers. We are relinquishing what should be a free and open marketplace to what is now commonly regarded as monopolistic, or crony, capitalism.

At the moment, federal regulations prohibit certain forms of content such as pornography of a certain type, content that profits from financial fraud, as well as content that may be construed as hate speech. Deregulation as endorsed by Ajit Pai’s FCC will enable corporations to impose their own terms and conditions and restrictions – goodbye to free speech.

While Canada still may maintain “Net Neutrality” protections, Canadians will be subject to access restrictions imposed upon American content providers by American ISPs. If Comcast and Verizon refuse to permit the passage of TRNN traffic across their networks, neither Americans or Canadians may be able to enjoy the wonderful content that TRNN provides.

Canadian ISPs likely do not own the infrastructure across which their subscriber traffic traverses, and would be regarded as a Tier 3 service provider. In Canada, I believe that you have three or four telecommunications companies that own most of the infrastructure; Canadian ISPs will lease bandwidth from Tier 1 or Tier 2 service providers Bell, Cogeco, Telus, or Rogers; and will manage the bill collection from their customers enabling access to the leased Tier 1 carrier service. Canadian customers will already be subject to QoS prioritization of traffic; in the event that your Toronto Blue Jays win the Series again, and Canadians are on the Net streaming live content or chatting with their family in Saskatchewan about the victory, customers may experience delayed service, as preference will be given to Bell subscribers (despite Bell’s contractual obligations to their ISPs).

Accomplished Canadian lawyer, professor, and author, Michael Geist has published good material concerning “Net Neutrality” and other topics such as the TPP relevant to Canadians. [Here’s a link to Michael’s latest piece on this topic: Net Neutrality Divide: Canada and the U.S. Go Separate Ways on an Open Internet]. Since I’m dropping creds to Canadians, let’s hear it for Rocco Galati and the folks at COMER [http://www.comer.org/].

Much, if not all, of the transcontinental trunk lines, as well as those undersea communication cables linking North America across Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (See TeleGeography: “Submarine Cable Map 2017” [http://submarine-cable-map-…]”) is owned by U.S. corporations; cables that constitute privately-held infrastructure. Should Internet content fail to be equitably-regarded, the threat of corporate censorship will span across continents and oceans alike.

Best Regards,
Munk

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And my best regards to Munk for his thoughtful contribution.

Information

This entry was posted on November 25, 2017 by in information counterpower, political action and tagged .
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