The CRTC has come up with a quintessentially Canadian compromise solution to net neutrality. After many months at the centre of a struggle between ISPs and the owners of the networks they run on (like Bell and Rogers) about the use of traffic shaping technologies to throttle the performance of these networks to limit the impact of users who are downloading and sharing large audio and video files, the CRTC has opted for what might charitably be called a principles-based approach.
To borrow a bit of bafflegab from former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, the CRTC says “throttling if necessary, but not necessarily throttling”. While maintaining that traffic shaping is justified to maintain the overall performance of the Net on behalf of everyone, it says it should only be used as a last resort after due notice is given given to those whose performance is being throttled. The CRTC wants ISPs to use “economic measures” to control the behaviour of bandwidth hogs by charging them based on the amount of bandwidth they use, especially during peak hours.
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