Where are the progressives on Net Neutrality?

I’m excited to see that the Green Party has included a section on Net Neutrality in it’s platform.

4. Supporting the free flow of information

The Internet has become an essential tool in knowledge storage and the free flow of information between citizens. It is playing a critical role in democratizing communications and society as a whole. There are corporations that want to control the content of information on the internet and alter the free flow of information by giving preferential treatment to those who pay extra for faster service.

Our Vision

The Green Party of Canada is committed to the original design principle of the internet – network neutrality: the idea that a maximally useful public information network treats all content, sites, and platforms equally, thus allowing the network to carry every form of information and support every kind of application.

Green Solutions

Green Party MPs will:

  • Pass legislation granting the Internet in Canada the status of Common Carrier – prohibiting Internet Service Providers from discriminating due to content while freeing them from liability for content transmitted through their systems.

Liberals, NDP… we are waiting…

6 thoughts on “Where are the progressives on Net Neutrality?

  1. Kim Feraday

    While I agree with the priniciple of Net neutrality, I can certainly see the carriers point of view. Who is going to want to build infrastructure if they’re not going to be able to profit from it. Better service for more money is one way of achieving this — that’s what VPNs are all about.

    The question then becomes should the Internet be a public utility — that’s certainly where it started. I don’t know if the issue can be reduced to simply stating we won’t let you price that way.

    Reply
  2. Kim Feraday

    While I agree with the priniciple of Net neutrality, I can certainly see the carriers point of view. Who is going to want to build infrastructure if they’re not going to be able to profit from it. Better service for more money is one way of achieving this — that’s what VPNs are all about. The question then becomes should the Internet be a public utility — that’s certainly where it started. I don’t know if the issue can be reduced to simply stating we won’t let you price that way.

    Reply
  3. David Eaves Post author

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the comment. I want to tease it apart because you raise an important concern – utilities need to be incented to improve/invest in their network and if we kill that incentive then we create a bigger problem.

    I’m not opposed to utilities charging based on bandwidth use. For example, some people have broadband lite (usually capped at 54K/sec) and pay less than those who have full highspeed connections (theoretically capped at 10Mb/sec but usually caps out at 200-300K/sec). Pricing for the amount or speed of bandwidth does not violate net neutrality.

    What concerns me is that cable companies want to charge for type of access (e.g. what you are doing on the net).

    I prefer to think of this in highway terms. If you want to toll for use, I have no problem, those who use a highway more should pay more. But if you want to toll for type of use (e.g. you want to charge Fords more than Chevy’s because you have an agreement with Chevrolet) than I have a real issue with that.

    And this what carriers want to do. They and to cut deals with content providers to create “special relationships” where the content from certain sites (read large media companies) would travel faster and/or more cheaply over their network then other content. This would violate the very principles that made the internet so great to use in the first place. For instance, my blog might load a lot more slowly then content from CNN.com.

    David Weinberger is a guy who really gets this and who articulats it best…

    Reply
  4. David Eaves

    Hi Kim,Thanks for the comment. I want to tease it apart because you raise an important concern – utilities need to be incented to improve/invest in their network and if we kill that incentive then we create a bigger problem.I’m not opposed to utilities charging based on bandwidth use. For example, some people have broadband lite (usually capped at 54K/sec) and pay less than those who have full highspeed connections (theoretically capped at 10Mb/sec but usually caps out at 200-300K/sec). Pricing for the amount or speed of bandwidth does not violate net neutrality.What concerns me is that cable companies want to charge for type of access (e.g. what you are doing on the net).I prefer to think of this in highway terms. If you want to toll for use, I have no problem, those who use a highway more should pay more. But if you want to toll for type of use (e.g. you want to charge Fords more than Chevy’s because you have an agreement with Chevrolet) than I have a real issue with that.And this what carriers want to do. They and to cut deals with content providers to create “special relationships” where the content from certain sites (read large media companies) would travel faster and/or more cheaply over their network then other content. This would violate the very principles that made the internet so great to use in the first place. For instance, my blog might load a lot more slowly then content from CNN.com.David Weinberger is a guy who really gets this and who articulats it best…

    Reply
  5. Kim Feraday

    Thanks for the reference. I’m pretty much coming from a position of complete ignorance on this. My first reaction though is if you’re a big media company and you’re willing to pay more for access how is that fundamentally different from me paying for it?

    If that’s the case then rather than regulating away profit wouldn’t a more reasonable position be to treat it just like any other infrastructure (roads, water, hydro etc.) You could negotiate a price with the providers and pay for it out of public revenues. But as I said I’m coming from a position of complete ignorance on this so I’m probably missing the point.

    Reply
  6. Kim Feraday

    Thanks for the reference. I’m pretty much coming from a position of complete ignorance on this. My first reaction though is if you’re a big media company and you’re willing to pay more for access how is that fundamentally different from me paying for it? If that’s the case then rather than regulating away profit wouldn’t a more reasonable position be to treat it just like any other infrastructure (roads, water, hydro etc.) You could negotiate a price with the providers and pay for it out of public revenues. But as I said I’m coming from a position of complete ignorance on this so I’m probably missing the point.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s