• What is Network Neutrality?

    Network neutrality is the principle that all information that is sent over the Internet should be treated equally. What does that really mean? It means that ISPs should not influence the content that you see or the applications that you use. Network neutrality is a design principle which aims to allow the transmission of all kinds of information and the use of all kinds of applications. It also means that all sites will load the same, and users are free to go to sites of their choosing.

    An alternative to network neutrality would be that network operators (usually phone and cable companies) offer two-tiered service. The ISPs would charge larger commercial sites and content providers for 'premium' service. Since network bandwidth is limited, this would automatically push other content to the lower tier.

  • Why should you care?

    Neutrality towards data and applications has been a key reason for the Internet's success. It has contributed to the Internet's amazingly innovative and democratic nature. This principle is the reason why your blog is as easily accessible as a video from TimeWarner. Phone and cable companies, as businesses, are interested in making money by changing this fundamental principle. There is debate about whether legislation should permit or prevent these changes. Canadian citizens need to be informed about this debate because it will shape the future of communications in Canada.

  • What's the background?

    The debate began in the United States in 2005, when major ISPs announced their intention to charge content providers a premium to deliver their content faster than their competitors. This was made possible by a change in policy earlier that same year. In reaction, a grassroots coalition has arisen to preserve the principle of network neutrality.

    The issue of net neutrality has emerged here in the same way, as Canadian ISPs are making plans to maximize revenue through network ownership. Some of these non-neutral practices have already started to appear.

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