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Canada Communications Wireless Networking Your Rights Online

Canada Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Wireless TV Case 98

An anonymous reader writes Canada's telecom regulator has issued a major new decision with implications for net neutrality, ruling that Bell and Videotron violated the Telecommunications Act by granting their own wireless television services an undue preference by exempting them from data charges. Michael Geist examines the decision, noting that the Commission grounded the decision in net neutrality concerns, stating the Bell and Videotron services "may end up inhibiting the introduction and growth of other mobile TV services accessed over the Internet, which reduces innovation and consumer choice."
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Canada Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Wireless TV Case

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  • Wow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wow. Common sense. Wow.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wow. Common sense. Wow.

      I think it's indicative on how corrupt our government has become here in the States.

      The more money you have here in the States, the larger your voice is with our government.

      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @12:39PM (#48932087)

        The more money you have here in the States, the larger your voice is with our government.

        There's a country that has a government where this isn't the case?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I think it was just demonstrated that Canada isn't totally in the hands of its corporations. (The oil industry notwithstanding because of the current Conservative gov't)

        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Dr J. keeps the nerd ( 1061562 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @01:32PM (#48932587)
          The person who brought the challenge to the regulator's attention was a graduate student. I don't think he has very much money, just training and time.
      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Thursday January 29, 2015 @01:07PM (#48932355)

        Hey now, normally the CRTC is as corrupt as they come. This is a group that has been heavily infiltrated by big media, who tried to institute 1996 level data caps, and who's outgoing president whined that the internet is their biggest obstacle to controlling what Canadians watch.

        I'm actually somewhat baffled by what seems to be a series of decisions on their part which appear at face value to be in the interests of the Canadian public and not their telecom friends.

        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

          by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @02:07PM (#48932905)

          The CRTC isn't corrupt, although they can sometimes get a skewed view of reality. They sometimes give too much weight to incumbent filings or taking on faith that the cost studies submitted by incumbents are accurate.

          It's difficult to examine the cost studies, because they're filed under seal, so when Bell files a cost study that defines the tariff rates that independent ISPs have to pay, nobody can challenge the cost study.

          Ironically, in one of the rare instances where Bell did expose a small part of one of their cost studies, it was found that they were costing out huge routers and then assuming a tiny usage of them. I think the specific case was Bell would include a 48 Gbps router in their cost study, and then claim that they only used 1Gbps of capacity on it. This meant 48x the cost for that part of the study, letting Bell charge more.

          The CRTC did correct Bell's costs for that instance, but that is just the rare public thing we know about. How many other instances of fudging is there in cost studies that nobody ever gets the opportunity to challenge because they're filed in secret?

          The independent ISPs have been asking for years to get the right to examine incumbent cost studies and other things that are filed under seal. The indies have proposed restrictions that would protect incumbent privacy, such as nominating a tiny number of people to see the data (such as a lawyer for the indie ISP), and to be under a nondisclosure agreement... the CRTC still hasn't done anything about it though. As a result, incumbent ISPs charge absurdly inflated costs for capacity to indie ISPs. I think Videotron is charging $23 per megabit for capacity on their last-mile network, and that's on top of all the other fees they charge like the cost of the DSL or cable line itself.

    • by silfen ( 3720385 )

      How is forcing Bell to charge customers more "common sense"?

      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tom229 ( 1640685 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @01:03PM (#48932331)
        They're forcing Bell to play fair, which ultimately is good for Canadian citizens as it limits the power of the telecom oligarchy. I would agree that it's far from "common sense" though. Drowning an industry in regulations rather than curing the underlying problem is lazy and short-sighted. If you want my 2c, the entire telecom infrastructure needs to be appropriated and put into the public domain. Maintenance and access to it can then be contracted out, much like we do with traffic infrastructure.
        • Now will the CRTC force Shaw to count as bandwidth the time spent watching HD channels? I mean, they're just packets; they just don't have an IP header.
        • by silfen ( 3720385 )

          They're forcing Bell to play fair,

          I don't see what is "fair" about this. Bell built and owns the infrastructure that those packets run over, Netflix does not. Forcing Bell to do things with that infrastructure against their will is no more "fair" than forcing you by law to let my dog defecate in your yard.

          Now, you may counter that Bell got their ownership of the hardware through lobbying and other unfair means, and I would agree. But you can't fix the fact that infrastructure is unfairly regulated and uncom

          • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
            I'd agree with you almost entirely except for your subtle compassion for Bell. Telecoms love to claim that the infrastructure is theirs because they built it. The only problem is, in the majority of situations, the tax payers have actually subsidized the infrastructure cost. Even where they haven't they are still permitted to absolute control over assets on government land. It seems pretty brazen to me to insist they can install their infrastructure on public land without oversight.

            Bell, Telus, Rogers, an
            • by silfen ( 3720385 )

              I'd agree with you almost entirely except for your subtle compassion for Bell. Telecoms love to claim that the infrastructure is theirs because they built it. The only problem is, in the majority of situations, the tax payers have actually subsidized the infrastructure cost.

              They have. That's wrong. But you aren't going to fix that by stacking more arbitrary rules on top of already exiting arbitrary rules.

              Our system of government, flawed as it may be, is completely broken by monopolized industry. This is why

          • Forcing Bell to do things with that infrastructure against their will is no more "fair" than forcing you by law to let my dog defecate in your yard.

            How about forcing me by law to let Bell dig up my yard to run cables for their network? Because they do that all the time.

        • by mrbcs ( 737902 )
          Just fyi, I get 10 hours of "streaming" on my phone with my cell package.

          Few issues:

          1. I can only watch what channels I have subscribed to on my satelite. (fair enough)
          2. I can only watch what they "let me" watch. Not everything live or anything available.(utter bs)
          3. The service is absolute shit. It just doesn't work. The network can't handle it. Most useless "service" I've ever paid for. (most useless app on my phone)

      • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

        I imagine it's more likely they'll end up charging everyone less in order to make their service actually usable.

        • by silfen ( 3720385 )

          I imagine it's more likely they'll end up charging everyone less in order to make their service actually usable.

          I doubt it. Their competitive advantage is that they own the towers; their competitive disadvantage is that they know nothing about the online movie delivery business. If they can't take advantage of their strength, they are just going to get out of the business.

        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          charging everyone less

          bwahahaha best joke all day!

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @12:17PM (#48931915)

    The CRTC made a sound and reasonable decision? What Universe is this?

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @12:20PM (#48931935)

      It's the Time Machine Quantum Experiment!

      They were playing with forces no human being should meddle with!

      Reality is unravelling!

    • Canada.
      A slightly less thoroughly corrupt system than the one to their South.
      Is there some correlation between probity and proximity to a pole?

      • I would have said "look at the other nordic countries", but then there's Russia. So much for THAT theory :-)

        Besides, we have the government refusing to hold a real probe into the murder rate of Aboriginal women (28 times higher) because it would expose their "tough on crime" stance as all show, no go, and a flawed allocation of resources that could better be used in prevention. And their craptastic treatment of returning veterans with injuries, especially PTSD, which is more along the lines of the Canadian

      • For now. If the current elected bunch had free reign (e.g did not have to face elections) those tea party wannabe would cosy even more to the corporate.

    • QUICK, Blame Harper... wait! What?
      • Give him a little time ... I'm sure they'll come up with something moronic to give the telcos what they want and pretend they're doing something which benefits consumers.

      • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @12:43PM (#48932123)

        Elections are coming up, that's what. We should have elections every six months, then politicians would always make the right decisions.

        • Elections are coming up, that's what. We should have elections every six months, then politicians would always make the right decisions.

          Oh man, I'd love to have a six-month election season.

        • Bell will likely respond:

          Sadly we offered a free service to consumers that didn't take up their data caps out of the generosity of our hearts that recently got shut down by government regulations strangling the economic lifeblood out of decent hard working Canadians... Now, because of the government market interference we'll be forced to change now against all your data caps... You can thank your local MP.

        • Wasn't there a Dr. Who episode based on something like that? Where the public got to decide at any time if an elected official's performance was not in their best interests. And if they voted that it wasn't, he was summarily executed?
        • In Athens they had them every day. Well it was more like a vote of confidence and if it failed they would immediately elect someone else.

    • Really?

      To all intents and purposes, they required the companies involved to take money out of their left hip pocket, and move it to their right hip pocket in the name of net neutrality.

      I mean, "we're required to charge ourselves for data usage by us" is a bit bizarre, when all is said and done....

      • Bell and Videotron, for example, would like nothing better than to crush Netflix, iTunes, etc and basically force us to use their streaming services instead. This levels the playing field and may actually force them to make the monthly quotas higher if they want people to subscribe to their services.

      • "we're required to charge ourselves for data usage by us"

        And saying that it costs nothing to transmit our bits to our customers but transmitting someone else's bits does cost money is more reasonable?

        I guess it's because all of their competitors are still using those old style fat bits that clog up their network, while they themselves are using the new style teflon coated slimmer bits that flow much more readily through the network.

  • LOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @12:20PM (#48931933)

    But doesn't Canada know that Net Neutrality is going to equal government censorship and all the telcos will immediately stop any infrastructure investments? Verizon, AT&T and Comcast said so and they would never lie about anything like that.

    • How the fuck is that comment insightful? Verizon, AT&T and Comcast have Slashdot accounts with good karma? What the hell is this?

      • Perhaps your ability to detect sarcasm needs some adjustment?

        Or ... whoosh!

        • I saw the sarcasm in the comment itself, but a sarcastic moderation? That doesn't help anyone.

          • It may come as a surprise to you .... but well used sarcasm can be insightful.

            Sorry you don't feel you were consulted, but that's been true for a VERY long time.

            You don't have to like it, but you should probably get over it.

      • Aspergers man says what?

    • Just ask the Obama Haters they will explain it to you.....sort of
    • by silfen ( 3720385 )

      But doesn't Canada know that Net Neutrality is going to equal government censorship and all the telcos will immediately stop any infrastructure investments?

      Nice hyperbole, but the effect of this decision is simple and obvious: wireless providers will continue charge all wireless video towards your data plan. Since that uses data up much too fast, you will effectively not be able to watch movies wirelessly at all. What a great victory for network neutrality. Aren't you proud of yourself.

      • I agree. The public statements made by those very companies saying that are hyperbolic. It was almost as if my post was lampooning the absurdity. Naaah, that couldn't possibly have been it.

        • by silfen ( 3720385 )

          Apparently, being a buffoon is all you are capable of; rational arguments are evidently beyond your intellectual abilities.

      • Re:LOL (Score:4, Informative)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @01:08PM (#48932363) Homepage

        Now, let's take the contrary to your position:

        The wireless provider is no longer allowed to treat their own subscription offering as being different from, say, Netflix by pretending data which they're sending you is magically different than any other data -- which prevents them from undercutting other services by making those services artificially more expensive.

        This basically allowed them to make competition obsolete by giving themselves an exemption, and treat their data packets as special.

        This didn't help consumers, or competition ... it helped them get an unfair leg up because they own the network and could cheat.

        Do you think people are well served when a company can undercut competition by rigging the system?

        • This sort of thing is more easily prevented by prohibiting the provider of the pipes from also selling what's sent through the pipes, and vice versa. So if you sold cellular data service, you wouldn't be able to also sell a video streaming service. That's how electricity and natural gas is sold in most places. One company gets an exclusive contract to lay down the wires/pipes, but are prohibited from selling electricity or gas. Instead, other companies sell those utility services (sometimes using the pi
          • So if you sold cellular data service, you wouldn't be able to also sell a video streaming service. That's how electricity and natural gas is sold in most places.

            I'm sorry, what? I've never lived anyplace where the electric or gas companies didn't maintain the delivery infrastructure and sell the electricity or gas it carried. Most places?

            The closest I've seen is where the electric company will allow you to pay MORE for electricity that is provided by another company over their wires. In Oregon, we have three or four "greener" energy providers you can select, and every one of them costs more. Competition? Ha.

            Now, there is a "public" utility south of here that doe

          • by silfen ( 3720385 )

            This sort of thing is more easily prevented by prohibiting the provider of the pipes from also selling what's sent through the pipes, and vice versa.

            Yes, it's easily prevented, but there is a cost. Let's say I have enough money to buy a car while you don't. As a result, there are lots of business and job opportunities open to me that aren't open to you. Your solution to this "unfair" situation is to prohibit individual car ownership altogether and force everybody to use government-regulated taxi services, a

            • by silfen ( 3720385 )

              That should have been: "but if they continue to use proprietary internal protocols for voice, video conferencing, and TV delivery" ...

        • by silfen ( 3720385 )

          The wireless provider is no longer allowed to treat their own subscription offering as being different from, say, Netflix by pretending data which they're sending you is magically different than any other data

          But it is different, and there is no magic about it either: their own data only flows over their own wires, they can cache that data close to the customer that wants it, and they don't have to pay peering costs for it.

          Do you think people are well served when a company can undercut competition by riggin

      • by Minupla ( 62455 )

        So we'll see innovation in other places.

        Take Plex for example. When I'm at home, on the wifi my plex client on my android phone downloads any subscribed content from my server. Then I have it in local storage till I watch it, when it's deleted.

        Way better then over the LTE anyways, fewer dropouts. Sometimes adversity breeds innovation.

        Min

        • by silfen ( 3720385 )

          How nice that you are such a wealthy and privileged person that you can afford to have a home Internet connection plus a mobile connection. However, for many people, $5/month TV streaming over their mobile means that they can seriously consider dropping their $60/month wired Internet connection altogether.

    • I see from the other responses that you should have included the <sarcasm> tag. Neither Verizon nor Comcast nor AT&T are players in Kanuckistan's consumer cable / mobile /internet markets.
    • But on the other hand, Apple and Google would have to port all of their apps to run on BlackBerry which will clearly result in a resurgence of a once powerful Canadian corporation. There is no way the BlackBerry CEO would lie (or be totally clueless) about this...
  • by sasparillascott ( 1267058 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @01:01PM (#48932295)
    Good for Canada, your neighbors to the south have something else to be jealous about.

    Down south here, our chief regulation of the ISP's, the head of the FCC - also the former CEO of the Cable Lobbying Organization as well as former CEO of the Wireless Lobbying Org appointed by President Obama - just announced that we'd have net nuetrality down here but the companies could pay each other for faster access, but this would be okay cause they could ask the FCC to look at the prices...with big strong guys like the former head of the Cable Lobbying Organization in charge of the FCC, what's to worry?
    • Re:Great for Canada (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@wo[ ]net ['rf.' in gap]> on Thursday January 29, 2015 @01:58PM (#48932793)

      Good for Canada, your neighbors to the south have something else to be jealous about.

        Down south here, our chief regulation of the ISP's, the head of the FCC - also the former CEO of the Cable Lobbying Organization as well as former CEO of the Wireless Lobbying Org appointed by President Obama - just announced that we'd have net nuetrality down here but the companies could pay each other for faster access, but this would be okay cause they could ask the FCC to look at the prices...with big strong guys like the former head of the Cable Lobbying Organization in charge of the FCC, what's to worry?

      Trust me, we're quite jealous of what the FCC does down there as well - for we're often screwed up here.

      For example - take cable services - we're required to buy a set top box from the provider - provided through the provider or a reseller, and that box cannot be moved to another provider even if they use the same equipment. Effectively, we're forced to buy equipment we can only use with the provider. We can't buy used equipment (except if it was originally sold by the provider), so no going to the US to buy cheap boxes, no going to another province, etc. Your box is locked to the provider, no one else in Canada will activate it. And if your box doesn't match any serial number the provider bought, they won't activate it either.

      This includes stuff like broadband modems for internet too - if you're not happy with the cable modem your provider gives you, too f'in bad - you can't buy a different one because they won't activate it.

      And it's only been a few years now that we've had cellphone number portability, and only within the last year that 3 year cellphone contracts have been eliminated, providers have to provide unlock codes for SIM locked phones, and no more surprise roaming charges and other stuff.

      So for this one ruling, Canada's still a place where the telecommunications firms rule. Your FCC does a lot right in comparison.

      • Mod +9000 informative but sad truth.

      • by rhazz ( 2853871 )
        The CRTC makes some mistakes, but at least they are helmed by a public servant, while the FCC is currently run by telco lobbyist. Yeah "we" are really jealous.
      • Videotron (in Quebec) will give you a discount if you bring your own modem.

  • So Bell essentially offers two different services (internet, media streaming service) at a discount and is told to stop because it's not fair (full agreement here).

    But how is this any less fair than Rogers (and I'm sure Bell) who is currently offering discounts for customers who sign-up for multiple services including internet, home phone, and cable?
    • Because one is about net neutrality and the other is about the bundling of services with rebates that are probably borderline illegal.

  • Which is precisely what AT&T did with their UVERSE IPTV service.
    They exempted the UVERSE TV data the customer used from their data caps and overages, while charging hefty overages for any other usage, whether web browsing, Netflix or Amazon instant video traffic. Or any other kind of traffic.
    The exact definition of non-Net Neutrality.
  • by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @04:05PM (#48933993) Journal

    I believe "Bell Mobile TV" was a unicast IP service, but we know that Verizon and AT&T are planning roll-outs of LTE Multicast [lightreading.com] in the US, which is a very different beast.

    Would it still be against "net neutrality" to allow carriers to serve up specially priced content on LTE Multicast, or would they have to make LTE Multicast available to all content providers equally? And how does one actually do that (given that the Internet, in general, has failed miserably at getting "general access" multicast routing to work)?

Multics is security spelled sideways.

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