Net Neutrality and Canada's Telecommunications Act
44 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2008
Date Written: April 26, 2008
The ongoing policy debate under the banner of "net neutrality" engages fundamental questions regarding the form of governance that best protects the interests of Internet stakeholders and advances the development of the Internet itself. While incidents sparking net neutrality concerns in North America have been isolated, often misunderstood, and rarely repeated, the attention that they have attracted is indicative of the level of interest in this issue. There are a variety of legitimate concerns on all sides. While some are calling for new legislation or regulation of Internet access to address net neutrality concerns, this paper seeks to demonstrate that, unlike in the United States, Canada's existing Telecommunications Act provides the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the authority it needs to address any problems that may arise. I propose certain general public policy principles regarding residential wireline Internet access, followed by a set of specific interpretive principles using which the Telecommunications Act may usefully be applied to Canada's competitive Internet access marketplace.
Keywords: Net neutrality, Canada
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