Why Business Needs to Support Net Neutrality

There has been a great deal of discourse on the subject of Net Neutrality. Google has been highly supportive of this issue, including a letter to the US House of Representatives from Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Last week, NDP MP Charles Angus introduced a private member’s bill, Bill C-552 to protect net neutrality to prohibit telecom providers from interfering with traffic that flows over their networks, other than in specific instances. This issue has been covered well by the wonderful folks at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (www.cippic.ca)

It’s my position that all businesses need to care about net neutrality because such filtering could impact any business’ ability to transact or create opportunity using the internet. If packet shaping is used by Internet Service Providers today to control use of P2P style applications, what guarantee exists to prevent such packet-shaping being used to provide preferential treatment to some web sites at the expense of others. What assurance exists that some content or entire site will not be filtered and blocked by arbitrary ISP action?

Certainly we must have initiatives to stop the spread of child pornography or the advocation of terrorist action, but I’m not convinced that placing such controls in the hands of ISPs is the complete answer.

There has also been talk of a tiered internet where depending on what you pay controls what you can post and what you can receive. That goes against the premise of the web as a whole and also has the potential to negatively impact our ability as a country to create and grow new businesses, since new businesses won’t have the funding to pay for preferential access.

Net neutrality in the end benefits commerce and I encourage you to support these initiatives.

Until next time, peace


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